Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tag, you're it!

About two or three nights a week, Keoki and I go for a walk through different parts of the village. During the long hot summer months, the early evening in this village is at it's best. People and cows are gathered at the watering hole, chattering away in Setswana and moo's, both are intermingled in harmony. Kids are playing, and women are outside cooking dinner in big black cauldrons. Before my walk though, I was putzing around the house and yard, and I couldn't help but notice this young boy in blue shorts walking back and forth outside my gate. His walk became slower when I was outside, and at one point, he sat on the ground, seemingly doing yoga stretches, and then doing his version of my tai chi moves. While I had never seen this kid before, he obviously has been watching me quite closely to be mimicking yoga and tai chi. When I call to him to come in, or to say hi, he just hides. I reckon he's having fun being a spy, and making contact with me would ruin everything! So, off I go on my walk, with spy boy following, keeping a safe distance, and being clever in picking his hiding spots when I would turn to see what he's up to. This adorable 7 or 8 year old definitely has my curiousity peaked.

At some point on my walk, a teacher stops to chat, and when done, I catch spy boy behind a big bush. I peak around one way, he peaks the other way, then I strattle around the bush and the spy doesn't know what to do. I start running around the bush every which way, but he is too quick for me, and I can't catch him. Even Keoki couldn't catch him. Unbeknownst to me, but really to no surprise, about a dozen kids are looking, laughing, and not knowing what to make of this situation. Frankly, I don't know what to make of it either, so at risk of once again seeming like the village idiot, I tell the kids that spy boy and I are playing tag. Tag---what's that? “Come on, you don't know what tag is!” “No mma!” Ok, I have my work cut out for me here. So on this brutally hot and humid night, I'm teaching 12 boundaryless kids how to play tag. With a lot of prompting, the kids, Keoki and I, are all running around the village tagging each other, and having the time of our lives...well, except for spy boy who is still behind the bush observing this craziness. He probably thinks I'm an alien and wants to capture me to send back to outer space. But on this night, I'm only caught by all my new little friends tagging me like I've never been tagged before! Believe me, if you ever want to see kids have a really good time, come to Africa and try teaching them something new. It'll be the most hysterical and rewarding thing you'll ever be involved in!

After reaching my tag limit, Keoki and I pant our way home with spy boy following at a distance. I went about my business, drinking a glass of cold juice, reading on my porch, watching the full moon show it's face through the trees, listening to sounds of the kids voices fill the village, and feeling blessed about many things. Seeing spy boy's face at the corner of my fence, I smile, as he is too, and I yell out, TAG, YOU'RE IT! Laughing hysterically, spy boy ran away into the night!

I don't know what spy boy is thinking, or what he's looking for, but something has caught this young boys eye. Hopefully, one day we'll become good friends, but for now, I'll enjoy his curiosity, and maybe tomorrow I'll do something really strange, just for kicks, to see spy boys reaction!

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