Thursday, 20 November 2008

Two nations separated by a common language ...

No, not the United States and Britain, but, the United States and Kenya.

Whilst Amy (see The colour of my skin, below) was staying in Kisii, she gathered some of our kids together and sang an alphabet song to them. Some of them knew it and joined in.

But when she came to the letter Z, she pronounced it "Zee" whereas the kids pronounced it as "Zed", as in British English. This surprised her and also spoiled the song as she was expecting to have to rhyme with Zee.

She mentioned this in an open letter to us. I didn't have the heart to tell her that Kenyans speak English, not American.

Monday, 17 November 2008

The worth of Stale Bread

Not too far from my house in South Africa, there was a play park with swings, roundabouts, and a stream that ran through it, feeding a duck pond.

I used to take the foster kids there at the weekend to let off steam and during the week, I collected stale bread for the smaller ones to feed the ducks.

So, one Saturday, I trotted down the the park with a 7 year-old. He looked at the ducks and swans with interest. I threw a piece of stale bread amongst them and the little boy laughed like a drain as the birds scrabbled about for it.

"Good," I thought and handed the boy the bag of stale bread.

He promptly sat on the bank and ate it.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

The Colour of my Skin

I am white English, hence the name that I was given in Kenya, Baba Mzungu, which is "White Dad" in Swahili.

But when I was in Kenya last March, one little boy tried to change all this.

After his morning wash-down, I applied Vaseline to his skin. It makes him look good, and it keeps his skin from drying out.

After I had finished, he took the Vaseline pot and started to grease my bald pate, stating that he was greasing me to make me the same colour as him!


During the Summer, the home had a visitor from the USA, an American student volunteer called Amy.

Benta, one of our little girls, asked Amy what colour she was, to which Amy replied that she was white.

Benta tutted and shook her head. Later, as the Sunday dinner chicken was being plucked, Benta pointed to the chicken and then to Amy's arm. She was telling Amy that she was not white, but the colour of a plucked chicken!