Thursday, January 14, 2010

I don't wanna brag

As most of you know, I adore children. And because this is my blog and you are all my imaginary captive audience (until you find the strength to click back to facebook), I will indulge in a bit of old fashioned bragging. I think I’m pretty damn good with kids. Since I was young, people have always remarked on this fact and encouraged my passion to work with children. And work with children I have. Babysitting all through college, working at two different pediatric hospitals, teaching health, nannying this fall for three families and working with Child Life Services at the hospital. What can I say? I love the little buggers.

Needless to say, working with malnourished infants in Africa is like a dream come true. I get to see babies from sunup to sundown. Granted, I have to wrestle them on a height board or examine them for edema but it’s still great fun. I can usually manage a smile out of even the most terrified child.

Some kids, however, will have none of the terrifying white girl. Many babies will take one look at me and simply start to cry. Nothing I can do will calm them. I am a big, scary azungu and they want me gone:

I had a kid yesterday who was about 3 years old. I started to lay him down on the height board and he was literally screaming like a banshee. I had to pull some WWF takedown style moves simply to get him to lay there while I recorded his height. “Osalira! (don’t cry)” I kept saying but he only got worse. “He’s saying WHHHHHHYYYY MMEEEEEEE?!!?!” explained a nurse. Great. Now I’ve become a torturer of small children.

Another time I saw a set of irresistibly chubby toddlers who were just learning to walk. I crouched down next to one of them and started making funny faces- a move that usually kills with the under 2 set. His response? He leaned down, grabbed a rock and chucked it directly at my head. With surprising accuracy for a lil’ feller who can’t even talk yet.

I think Gus put it best. When a mom handed me their child to measure, it took a gander at my pale skin and light blue eyes and pissed itself. “Well,” Gus remarked, “that’s what happens when you see a

1 comment:

  1. Thingy, just wait until you find the one albino toddler in the village- the world will stop, go slowmo as the sweet tune of t-swift's "you belong with me" will echo from somewhere in the malawaian distance.