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African Toys

There is really no such thing as a store bought toy here. Besides the toy trucks we bought for our language teacher’s children, I don’t know that I have ever seen any other store bought toy around here. Most kids honestly seem pretty happy just playing in the dirt. However, I have found that at times they can be pretty creative with making their own toys. Besides their beloved soccer ball, which is really a ball made out of old rags, there are basically three toys that I see around here.

The most common one is a piece of old hose or plastic tubing formed into a wheel that they push along the street with a stick and wire trying to keep it balanced. I don’t really know where this concept came from, but you will often see young boys pushing their little wheel down the road and running after it to keep it going.

The other thing that you will ocassionally see especially during the windy months is a pinwheel. I have seen different variations of this, but the easiest and most basic is a leaf with a thorn stuck through the center. They hold the other end of the thorn and run with it or blow it to make it spin. Again, I see lots of little boys doing this.

The other toy that we saw the other day and were quite surprised to see was a kite. They had taken some string and tied it to a plastic bag and were trying to fly it. The neighborhood playground is right outside of our gate and we heard lots of ruckus out there one day and looked out to see all the kids in the town running around with plastic bags and strings. Again, mainly boys.

I don’t know what girls play with here, since it is usually boys I see playing. I guess they each have their very own babydoll in the form of their younger brother or sister that they get to carry around on their back and take care of as if it were their very own.

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