(WARNING: This is not a deep, theological post like the title may insinuate.)
Here in Burkina Faso, kids are often left to run a lot more free than I was ever used to in the US. And because of that, it’s usually left to others in the community to help them know what is and is not acceptable. For example, if I let them, I could always have a huge gang of kids running wild through my house. But I don’t accept that. However, I do often let them hang out on my porch (and sometimes in my house), even when they’re sometimes noisy and annoying and I’d prefer my personal bubble to be a bit bigger.
Why? I’m glad you asked!
There are many reasons. For one, I want to be approachable. For two, they often are willing to speak My Language at my level, and so it helps me progress in language. For three, I have cardboard books (more durable than regular books) that I let them look at, to be a step towards literacy. And there are many other reasons, too.
It’s one of those other reasons that came to the forefront tonight. It was handy that one pre-teen girl came over and helped me cook and even washed my dishes afterwards, but I am much more appreciative of her male cousin. You see, I had gone into my bedroom (which is majorly off limits to the kids and even off limits to the adults) to get something, when I turned around and saw a huge scorpion standing between me and my bedroom door. Now, if there’s a bee I can swat it. If there’s a creepy spider or cockroach I can spray them. But scorpions and centipedes – I call for help. I happened to know that there was a pre-teen boy on my porch at that exact moment, taking advantage of my solar-powered light to study. So I stood in my room and called to him through my window, telling him to bring my sandals and come. His 5-year-old cousin came with my sandals, and yet I insisted on the pre-teen since I didn’t trust the 5-year-old with a scorpion. Yes, my bedroom is off-limits, but when there’s a scorpion in it, it’s time for rules to change!
So he came, and when he saw what it was that I called him about, he said that it wasn’t a job for a sandal and left the room. I figured he knew what he was doing, and I was right. A minute later he reappeared with a stick from my cooking fire that was still glowing on one-side. Good idea! Not only will he smack it, but he’ll burn it at the same time. And that’s what he did. And then shooshed it out my door. And then went back to his studying.
See? Don’t you agree? It’s a good thing to let some kids stay on your porch, at least if you’re wimpy when it comes to scorpions and centipedes and you need someone to save you! Thanks for putting them in the right place at the right time, God, and for protecting all of us from these creepy bugs.