UPDATED February 22, 2008

BY Henry Gold

IN Tour d'Afrique

no comments

UPDATED February 22, 2008

BY Henry Gold

IN Tour d'Afrique

no comments

Little Children

So I’ve had a few complaints about the website being way too optimistic, not telling it like it is. Thus, here’s a list of things that we could whine about, that drives us crazy, that are annoying or frustrating or discouraging.

Number 1: KIDS!! The kids of Ethiopia have been driving us crazy, not only because of the absolute, constant harassment of “you, you, you!” being screamed at you, or “hello, hello, hello!” or “Give me money! Give me money!” Then, let’s add in the kiddos who chase after you, either yelling encouragement or just to race you up a hill or to give you a push or to steal something out of your rear rack. No, all this gets discouraging, just from the repetition throughout the day, as you say “hello” or “salamno” 50 million times, or just try to raise your hand weakly in a quick wave as you cycle up a hill to the 17,000th kid who refuses to stop saying “you, you, you!” despite the response you’ve already given. Now, let’s add to that the violent kids, who like to throw sticks and rocks, either innocently to get your attention, in a misguided attempt to herd you as they do all the donkeys and goats, or simply to hurt you. Kathleen in particular nursed a nice bruise on her thigh, from a rock thrown from a cliff, that must’ve hit with some impact, because it’s the size of a black and blue softball. Of course, it doesn’t help that the adults, if they see kids harassing you, also throw rocks at the kids to scare them off.

Number 2: The annoyance of always having eyes staring at you, invading your privacy. We’ve come to the point that we have to put up a perimeter line around the lunch truck and our camps at night, due to how intensely curious people are about the ferengis (foreigners) who’re dressed up in odd costumes, putting up tents, cooking, sleeping, trying to find somewhere to do their business. Even at Coke stops, you’ll be surrounded by an entire crowd of kids and adults, who’re very interested in who you are and where you’re going. That’s another question that gets old after the 86th person asks, “Where you go?” and continues to ask after you’ve already responded with “Moyale” or “up the hill” or “Mars.”

Number 3: What goes through your head on a discouraging day. The sun is too hot. My flesh is being broiled as I cycle along. I’m sun burnt today, from that stupid doxycycline (malaria pills). This uphill is never going to be over and my legs are burning, my lungs are burning, my skin is burning. Alternatively, it’s too flat, there’s nothing to look at. I’m bored on the bike. My body is exhausted. Where’s the lunch truck? It’s supposed to be at 70k, but my speedometer says 72.6, it’s nowhere in sight, and I want to get off this bike NOW. What’s that roadkill? I wonder if they’ll have tuna at lunch? Should I do a combo of peanut butter and chocolate, or pb and honey? If I have to say hi to one more person…. When was the last time I put on sunscreen? God, is that another FLAT?! @$#&*

I could, of course, go on, but I’ll save more for another day. After all, not every day is perfect and fun and pleasurable.

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