Sunday, January 24, 2010

Surprise visit!

Okay, here's the random story of the day. I was in my apartment at about eight o'clock last night when I heard a knock at the door. I went downstairs to see who it was. I found my neighbor's four year old son standing at the door with one of his friends. He told me that he wanted to come visit me.

I was a little suspicious of a four year old coming over to hang out for the evening, so I went outside with them and walked down the street to a small market. I bought them both lollipops, sat on the curb with them, and explained that they couldn't come over and visit without their fathers. But my neighbor's son said, "we just want to sit on your balcony for a while." I told them, "sorry guys, but you can't visit without your fathers."

While I was sitting there talking to them, I heard someone in the street say, "what is that foreigner doing sitting with two little kids?" I live in a pretty small neighborhood and my neighbors are all related to each other. So I figured it wasn't going to be too long before the kid's father heard about it. I asked a friend today if I should go talk to the father or not. He told me not to make a special visit just to tell him about it, but to tell him the next time that I saw him. But I was a little nervous that someone else might tell him before I did, so I went hunting. I finally tracked him down in a barber shop watching a football game between Algeria and Ivory Coast.

I waited until halftime, then asked him to come outside with me. I took him across the street and told him that his son had come by last night, that I'd taken him down the street to the market, bought him candy and talked to him for a bit. I explained that in my culture it's not really okay for a small child to go visit a grown man. I was nervous while I was talking to him, not knowing how he was going to react.

After I finished talking, he looked at me and said, "okay, I'll beat him when I get home." I told him, "No, no, no! That's not why I'm telling you this. I just wanted you to hear from me instead of from someone else." He told me that his son just wanted to be friends with whoever his dad is friends with. I'm not really thrilled about him beating his son later on tonight, but I'm glad that he took the news as well as he did. I can only imagine what I would think if someone told me they saw a grown man sitting with my son in the evening, feeding him candy.

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