You know those documentaries on Africa where some person walks into a village, an orphanage, a hospital, whatever, and they are inundated with children? They are SWAMPED by children? MOBBED by children?
Well it doesn’t just happen in the movies, folks.
Today, when I went to see Luyanda/Mgazi I innocently pulled out my camera. I had used it twice in front of the children and there had been mild interest. I don’t know what was in the water, but when those kids saw the camera I became the most popular thing since… I don’t know… is sliced bread popular in Africa?
“Take my photo, take my photo,” and older girl said. The younger ones just looked up at me and grinned, “CHEEEEEEEESE!” and jostled each other out of the way as they fought for maximum positioning.
After I snapped a couple pics the mayhem began. These kids know a thing or two. They know about instant gratification. They know that you can see the picture you just took on the back of the camera. And they ALL wanted a peek!
I had children tugging on my sleeve, crawling up my leg, straddling my shoulders. I only slightly exaggerate. It got to the point where I grabbed an older kid who spoke English and begged, “tell me how to say ‘back off’ in your language!” Of course, the only reason I could reach him was because he was sitting on my head! Even little two-year old Luyanda was pushing people back. She seemed better equipped at handling the onslaught than I.
But I can’t complain. Even with the lack of oxygen that is the natural effect of being buried by wet, dirty, terribly excited children, I still loved it.
And the day was capped off with an entirely sweet note. Luyanda giggled. And it was because of me.