Sunday, November 3, 2013

20. The New Neighbors

A few of the friendly neighborhood kids

I was nervous to move into the new house, thinking that we would be lonely for our last few days in Zobue.  As it turns out, it's been just the opposite. 

All of the kids in this neighborhood are very interested in their new white neighbors, and our old neighbors have made a point of visiting every day.  In fact, we have so many visitors that sometimes we have to send them away.  There is no such thing as "alone time" in this small, rural town, and the constant barrage of students and neighbors and strangers and children can be a little overwhelming.

This morning, we had a parade of little visitors from the houses down the path.  Dan and I chatted with them as we washed the dishes, learning their names and families and where they lived.  A few of them spoke Portuguese and were actually able to converse a bit.  Then, when we had finished washing, we bid farewell politely and closed the grate and the front door.

The kids continued to play in our front yard, gathering mangos from the trees and talking and laughing and chasing the dogs.  I heard them practicing our names as they ran around the house: "Leeza!-Dannee!-Bwino!-Piro!"  But instead of eventually getting tired and going away, the kids seemed to be getting noisier and noisier.

I sighed as I scrambled eggs for breakfast in a bowl.

"I think I'm going to have to send them away," I said.  "I don't want to start off on the wrong foot, but they're being really noisy."

I waited for a few minutes, but the shouts and scrapes and crunches didn't secede.  Finally, I put the bowl down on the table and opened the front door.  I was about to open my mouth and start to scold, when I saw what they were doing.  Fifteen smiling faces looked up at me in pride.

All of the neighborhood kids were cleaning up our yard.  The oldest ones were dumping branches in the cova.  The younger ones were sweeping leaves out of the pathway using branches made of sticks.  The baby of the group was picking leaves up, one at a time, and dumping them in a pile at the foot of our stairs. 

"Awwwwww."  I said.  "Awwww."   It was such a sweet and heartwarming moment.  

"Tia Leeza!"  Shouted the kids.  "Tia Leeza!  Quintal limpo!"  Aunt Lisa!  Clean yard!

I think that Peace Corps Zobue will do just fine in this new house.

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