As I sit here typing this, do you know what’s going on right outside the window? I’m hearing laughter and screams of delight as kids are playing tag. Neighborhood kids and my kids all playing together and enjoying themselves.
Of course it was a challenge when we first moved to Senegal for our kids to play with African kids, after all they didn’t have any language in common, our kids stood out in appearance, and everyone wanted to feel their hair, it was just hard. But before long our kids started picking up French and getting used to playing in this new culture.
So when we moved from Senegal to Burkina, we didn’t think the transition would be as hard as it was when we moved to Senegal, while we knew they’d have to start over making playmates, at least they already spoke French and were used to playing in a different culture.
But to our surprise they had a hard time when we arrived here. Maybe it was that there seems to be even less white people here, so when they step out of the yard they get called toubob (white person) more often, maybe it was because they didn’t know how much French the Burkina kids spoke, or if it’d be more Jula, maybe it was because there’s a LOT of kids on this road and it just was an overwhelming crowd, maybe it was the transition, or maybe it was all of that combined. As a mom I was worried for my kids. I struggled with knowing how much to make them go play or go say “hi” to kids and how much to just let them decide. It seemed like everything I tried back fired and made it worse. I even started doubting they would have friends in this neighborhood. I guess I thought my God was pretty small.
But over the course of time they’ve started playing more. Calvin likes doing foot races and playing tag. He burns a lot of energy with his pals. 🙂 There’s some girls that like to come over and color with Gracia and now they’ve come up with nick names for each other. It’s still not always perfect, sometimes they don’t want to play, or get embarrassed if they don’t understand something in Jula (although many school age kids speak French), but I just want to publicly thank God for helping my kids to have friends. I don’t know what changed in my kids’ attitudes, it sure doesn’t seem like it was anything I said or did, I think it was God kindly giving us a good gift and answering our prayers.