On my way back from one of the towns in Western Uganda, the driver stopped to get
charcoal (used for cooking in the homes and is cheaper when sold outside of Kampala),
which is sold along the road. As the men were loading it into our truck, I got out
and talked with one of the little girls who lived in the house where it was sold.
There were about 10 children under the age of 9 gathered in front of the house laughing
at Paula and I. The little girl answered all of my questions shyly ("How old are you?"
and "What is your name?" I tried to ask what her favorite color was, but she had not
yet learned the word "favorite"). One of the men I work with, my closest Ugandan friend
and whom I also fundamentally disagree with most major values, translated the conversation
between me and the children.
The little girl asked for a gift. I only had 3 Starburst left because I had eaten the rest, and I felt bad only giving her so little, but when Paula (who was in the car) gave them to her, she knelt down on the dirt in thanks. We tried to think of what else we could give. We had a half-eaten bag of popcorn that we offered, and again, she knelt down and the kids laughed and jumped up and down. The only other food we had left was an open box of Corn Flakes, and when we gave this to one of the boys, he held it above his head and ran smiling into the house with all the kids following. The youngest and smallest boy was in a torn Harvard tee-shirt, and was last in the line, saying, "We have to share!" (translated by my supervisor) As we drove away, they stood by the road and waved goodbye.