Little kids have no inhibitions, and you can find out what life’s really like from them.
Most people in my village no longer shout in surprise when they see the white person walking through. They have gotten used to me, but I’m not sure the little ones ever will. Just last week, I walked past my neighbor’s house, and a chorus of “lekgoa lekgoa!” followed me around. I shouted “AHEE” to all their “Dumela Dumela LEKGOA Dumela!!” and laughed as I walked to my home.
Last month, as I passed another house I frequently walk by, I heard the crowd of little ones babble amongst themselves, then shout to me, “lekgoa!” I’ve greeted these kids numerous times, and decided it was time to teach them. So I said, “Ay! Ke Keamogetswe! Mme Keamogetswe! Dumela!” Hey, I am Keamogetswe! Miss Keamogetswe! Hello! They all laughed and started the rounds of “Dumela!” and waited to see if I would great each one individually. At least they stopped yelling lekgoa since then, and the adults at the house were getting a kick out of watching the lekgoa.
Outside my village, it’s another story. White people are still a new concept everywhere around outside Vryburg. I was in Ganyesa recently, a large village with a Shoprite (which makes it a major destination) with another PCV. He saw some guys pushing a car, and stopped to help while I guarded his bag. I waved to the little ones in the backseat, and they just stared, mouths open, eyes wide as can be. I could just tell that they did not understand why a white person was there and why I was waving at them. There were quite possibly terrified.
All the little ones in my village were once like that, and I just had to laugh at their blatantly shocked faces. Now, though, they compete to see who can greet me the most, and often babble on in Setswana while I try not to laugh at their cuteness. It’s from the kids that I know my village has accepted me, and that I’m becoming integrated.
And darn, these little ones are SO cute.
P.S. Lekgoa means white person, if you didn’t know. It may be my unofficial nickname. And was how my principal introduced me to the School Governing Board-“Our Lekgoannyane” Our little white person. 🙂