“Tell us a story,” he said. My mind went blank. I thought back to the time when I loved nothing better than sitting in the back of a pick up truck surrounded by my brothers and sisters making up story after story as the truck bounced along the red Congo roads.
A story… now all those make believe tales seemed flat, and the only story I wanted to tell was theirs.
We took a walk today the whole tribe of us minus two. Ruthann took the lead looking her usual confident and beautiful self with two kids clinging to each hand and the rest floating around her.
I brought up the back. A newcomer to the Sunday walk, but loving the feeling of two little hands in mine as we walked along the dirt road jumping mud puddles and enjoying the view. I almost lost a flip flop at one point when I miss judged the depth of a puddle. I managed not to lose it completely, and we went on our way past the kid’s school and down towards town. Ruthann left the kids piled up by the bank of the road while she and I ducked into a shop to buy some batteries. The Duka’s (shops) are barely big enough for five people to fit in and the owner sells his goods through a barred window.
The first shop did not have batteries, but the store keeper directed us two stores down. This time we were successful AA’s for 60 shillings (about 70 cents). Now the boys would be able to finish their haircuts. The razor’s battery had given out halfway through leaving two of the boys with partially shaved heads (a sight I’m sure our guests had wondered about earlier in the day when they dropped in unexpectedly). No one had said anything, but I’m sure they were wondering if some new hair style was going around.
After purchasing batteries, we rejoined the kids and headed back down the road. Once again, Ruthann looked like the pide-piper just without the pipe. We of course got looks from people as we walked along—two girls in their twenties and 15 kids parading down the road. We passed the 2 in 1 butchery, and I had to wonder what the second half of the business entailed.
“Make a hole,” Ruthann would yell back, and the kids would part to make room for a bicycle, piki (motorcycle), or a donkey cart. At this point in the walk the two kids holding my hands had switched to two different kids. We took the scenic route back, and by the time the Children’s home was in sight my group of four of the smaller ones was singing and playing with sticks they had picked up on the side of the road.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to tell any other stories for awhile Diki, Kevin, Zippi, Jane, Zach, Nicholas, Veronica, Ruth, Samuel, John, George, Little Kevin, Charity, Virginia, Michelle, Esther, and James have completely captured my heart.