One Versus 12
Yesterday, Ian warned us that today would be a very long day. Maybe that's why I'm sitting here surprised that the day is already over. Today, after Grassroot Soccer we all went for a walk through the township looking for girls to come to the clinic we were hosting later in the afternoon. Chicka, one of the Grassroot coaches, had us juggle a ball as we walked down the middle of the street. People started coming out of their houses to watch and Siya helped us ask girls if they wanted to come play soccer later. We split up so that a few people could walk on the other side of the street. After crossing to the other side with Jo, Molly, and Siya, a group of six-year-old boys started chasing after us. They ran down the sidewalk some in dress shoes, some in sandals, and others simply barefoot. Even though they were speaking Xhosa, we could still make out the occasional word such as 'American,' or 'United States.'
After recruiting as many girls as possible, we started walking towards the field where our clinic would be. I found myself between two girls who had attended Grassroot earlier in the day. They immediately grabbed my hands and kept walking. After the usual questions, how old are you? Do you have any brothers or sisters? And am I saying this right? (My attempt to pronounce the clicks in Xhosa correctly.) I asked if they had any questions about the United States. This triggered an onslaught of, what's it like? Are there any cute guys? And is it much different from here? Before answering their questions, I asked if anyone ever told them about the U.S., or if they were always the ones being asked questions. They told me people always ask them about their lives but never talk about their own.
After the clinic I started picking up soccer balls and managed to get four into my arms. As I was walking
towards the ball bag, a boy grabbed one from me. He ran off giggling and glancing backwards, checking to see if I would chase after him. I quickly ran after him, dropping one of the balls on the way. I caught up to him and we began an intense game of tug-of-war over the ball. Once the other kids saw us playing they ran over to join in and I was jumped on, tickled, and even bitten.
These kids had a strategy for getting me to fall. First, someone would run behind me and grab one of my ankles. Then, another one would hold my hands together. Last, someone would grab my other ankle and push me from behind. Over and over they would pull me to the ground and sit on me. I kept getting up and trying to run but after taking only a few steps they would trip me and pin me to the ground again. Slowly and somewhat painfully I was making my way across the field towards the bus. I started sprinting to get away and looked back to see a pack of about 12 screaming children chasing after me. Almost there, I thought as I was within 20 feet of the bus. Just as I stopped sprinting I felt someone grab my ankles. A little girl who had looked so innocent during camp was holding my hands together. Before I knew it someone was pushing me from behind. I had just enough time to look up into the bus before slamming into the ground and being dog-piled by all the kids.
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Posted by: HARD NEWS | July 4, 2007 01:03 PM
Posted by: anon | July 5, 2007 05:53 PM