I’ve had lots of opportunities to appreciate the beauty of children this week! Earlier in the week, I went to my friend’s house here (one of the two friends we have) and while we were sitting and talking I noticed that she was playing with her 11 month old by throwing something and telling him to go get it. It dawned on me that a week earlier he had not been walking and about that time she announced that he had learned how to walk the day before. I couple of months ago, I couldn’t have fathomed knowing someone well enough to know that their baby had recently learned to walk, much less being a witness of the transformation in the baby’s life. It was a sweet moment that I unexpectedly got to share with this mother.
Yesterday, I stepped over to our neighbor’s house to ask something and was told to come into their compound. I had never been there before, but knew that the couple had 5 daughters. As I stepped in, their mother told them all to come out of the house and greet me. Three of the daughters had to have been under the age of 5 and as they greeted me they reached both hands up towards me in order for me to bend down and them kiss my cheeks on each side (a total of 2-6 times depending on the person). I was not expecting that! Normally, people kiss each cheek as they hold your hand and while that itself is a sweet gesture, nothing comes close to having an adorable 4 year old reach up to you while they kiss your cheeks. The first one caught me off guard, but then I was even more shocked as all of the girls did the very same action one after the other. When I went to leave, we went through the same motions again. They were just precious!
Almost every day we have interactions with the neighborhood children. Our oh-so-cute neighbors (3 under the age of 6) like to yell “firinge” at us every time they see us over their fence. That is one time when I don’t mind being called “firinge!” As we pull out in the truck each day, we have to pull by an area that is considered the neighborhood playground. 10-20 children come running up to us waving furiously and yelling who knows what at us. We have even got a full on Army style salute from a couple of them. Have no clue what it means, but it sure was cute! Even if we don’t always feel welcome from the adults living here, at any given point along the road to our house there is sure to be a child or two smiling and waving as we pass by. I sometimes wonder what we could ever have done to deserve such greetings as we come and go. I think much of it has to do with the color of our skin and the fact that they think we might give them money, but regardless of the reason I will enjoy it while I can!