Saturday, August 11, 2012

Children Love Leslie...And Leslie Loves Them

Red dust of Uganda hid the brightly colored clothing. Characteristic slime dripped from tiny brown noses. Children swarmed but failed to holler out “muzungu.” Something different was happening…something beyond curiosity, something beyond the bright factor. A small flock of young children from Bubembe Island seemed unusually drawn to me. They weren’t afraid, they weren’t clamoring to touch my different skin or run their fingers through my silky hair. They simply moved in. What was it? On reflecting about this unusual condition, the answer seemed to be that they wanted affection. They crowded around as if it were the Thanksgiving table and they were all vying for the seat next to their favorite aunt. They draped themselves across my lap, hung on my leg, held my hands…not making a sound. One might have thought they’d taken a lesson from me about how to be affectionate.

This behavior is definitely a shift away from being viewed as a circus attraction and toward being viewed as a welcomed and loved family member. I know I’m not explaining this shift well, but I treasured it no less.
First the girly in blue hunkered in next to me.
Then the girl in green scootched her out.
Thenk Kysakye showed up and trumped them all.

Little naked baby put on a show until I picked her up.

Little blue girl clung to my leg.

This girl first spotted me at the landing site and took off running.
Her reaction was so strange. Not screaming but halfway between trying
to be bold and trying not to get eaten. She finally touched me and then
wanted to be held. You can see she's still unsure but yet she wanted it
so badly.

Another one hung out at my skirt hem until her turn to be held.