Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Africa in America

Our kids talk about Africa a lot now. Some of it is obviously manufactured - for example - Marin insists she used to play ice hockey in Africa; but some of it is very interesting and gives some insight into what their life was like.

For example, we went apple picking last weekend. While there, we saw a tractor pull a large wagon full of black men through the orchard. I believe they were migrant workers. Their clothes were well worn and they had the look about them of people who lived a very hard life. Marin perked up and said "Daddy, look. Them brown skin people from Africa. I knowed them. I knowed all of them in Africa." And even though it's impossible she knew these particular people; it is very likely that she saw this scene every day in Africa. A wagon full of laborers being pulled by a team of donkeys or cattle through the streets of her village.

Just today, the kids and I were out in the driveway playing. Marin asked me to help her draw a hopscotch grid using driveway chalk and Emmy was riding her bike. I lost track of Emmy for a minute and then she called my name. I looked around and did not see her, but her voice was very close by. Then I looked up, and she had climbed a tree to about 15 feet off the ground. Emmy is three years old, I have never seen her climb a tree even one branch high, I am forever lecturing her about how dangerous stairs are, and she is very cautious on playground equipment. Even in the apple orchard last weekend, Emmy did not climb trees.

Now I am looking up wondering how the heck I am going to get Emmy down. I asked Marin "Where did Emmy learn to climb a tree?" and Marin said "We do that in Africa to get food. Watch, I show you." And Marin proceeded to scamper up the tree next to Emmy. Unbelievable.

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