I was with some street kids the other day when a 13 year old boy asked me what time it was where I come from. The boy had a boastful smile, spoke broken English, and wore a pair of silver rimmed glasses with no lenses. I looked at my watch and subtracted seven hours to find that it was three AM in Washington, D.C. He then proudly said to me, “do you know that in London it is six o’clock?” He laughed before I could respond.
He then asked where I was from. “America,” I said. His questions continued, “Do you know Bush?” I decided to play along and told him that yes, I did know Bush. “Oh, he a big man,” he told me while flexing his arms and imitating what he saw as the President of the United States. I asked him if he knew Kibaki, the President of Kenya. He played along also and said that yes, he did know Kibaki. Then, he flexed his muscles again and said, “He my President.” It made me laugh.
Kids are kids even if they live on the streets. Kids want to have fun. Kids want to laugh. Kids want to tease the very-out-of-place American man in the middle of the slum. It’s harder for kids living on the streets to laugh, but this kid did it and he made me laugh, too.
When I first got to the slums, it was hard to look past the tragedies to see kids having fun. Now, I see it. Streets make kids grow up fast, but they don’t kill their need for laughter.
Posted By Jonathan Homer
Posted Aug 3rd, 2007