Saturday, July 24, 2010

Watoto (children)

A rock is only a rock if you call it a rock. However, it magically turns into the most delicious candy if you call it pipi (Swahili for candy). Everywhere we go the kids always say “I want candy” or “I want money” or “I want this” and “I want that.” So, I started mocking them, and we never actually give them any of the things we asked for. Because we’ve been here for a while, they’ve pretty much stopped asking us for things. Although, not completely.

Yesterday, Mr. Paolo was working on doing cement for the stands. Logan and I really couldn’t help out, and they had some extra hands helping out. We just watched. A few kids came over after a while, including one mischievous little girl wearing a gray dress. She poked her head around the corner and said, “Naomba pipi.” Or “Give me candy.” I looked at her and said in Swahili, “No, go away.” She hung around for a little while and kept saying it.

While she was saying it, I was sitting on the ground where one of the rocks that had been used for the foundation of the tank stand had been broken open. We were using really pretty rocks that had been laying around the school construction site, and the crystals were broken up into small pieces. So, I decided to mess with the little girl and play a trick on her. I grabbed the little rocks, got up and started walking over to her, to give her the “pipi.” She freaked out and started running away. I think she may have thought I was going to bop her on the head for being a brat (which we have done once or twice with particularly bratty kids). Because she ran away, I turned around to the other kids that were still standing there and started giving them the rocks one by one, each time sayings “pipi… pipi…” She kept running back to me sticking out her hand, and every time I tried to give her a rock, she ran away again. One of the kids Gidi (short for Gideon) took the “pipi” and popped it in his mouth. I kept giving him more and more and he kept putting the rocks in his mouth. He knew they were rocks, but I think he enjoyed, as much as me, teasing the little girl who was being annoying.

After a few minutes, she figured out that they were rocks, but she still wanted one. At the same time, one of the older men who was also standing around watching the cementing process started to holler at the kids telling them (what I’m assuming) was to get lost. I walked over to the man and showed him the “pipi.” He got a good chuckle out of it.

Anyway, we’re still working on the stands. We’re putting the top coat of cement on the stands, but we can only do one stand a day. Mr. Paolo says we’ll be done by Friday. When the project finishes, we have decided to have a big party with the people that helped. Mr. Paolo is buying a goat for us today, and he’s going to keep It at his house until next week, and we’re ordering soda and beer. That means we’ll probably be leaving first thing (~5AM) on Saturday to head to Zanzibar for the beginning of vacation time.


  1. bahaha. I love you, Monica. As for vacation time, what will that entail?

    Have fun at the party. I'm sure that will be a lot of fun! :)

  2. Vacation time will be in Zanzibar for about 5 days or so, then we're going to go to western Tanzania to Lake Tanganyika to see chimpanzees. But, to get there, we're taking a bus from Dar to Dodoma (6 hrs), then a train to Kigoma (24 hours, probably with delays), then we have to take a boat to a village outside of the park (7 or 8 hours), and then take another boat to get into the park (2 hours). Then to see the chimps, we have to go on treks.

    We'll write a blog post explaining everything when it comes up, but I'm super excited. :)

  3. Sounds like fun!!