The nickname a lot of the guys have for Raelee is Carella. She gets irate at times and it only makes them do it more. I let it go because she is always messing with somebody so it is only fair for them to mess back. She is learning the language so fast. People love it when she spouts off a phrase, they laugh. She definitely knows the phrase “come here, I will beat you” Kimuli and Sharifu tell her that all the time. She informed me today that mazungu’s don’t say that, and I agreed that is probably not something we would should say to just anyone here! But I did tell Kimuli and Sharifu that Raelee taught me new words today and then in their language said it – they got a kick out of that. Especially since I only know two words in lusoga and still get it wrong as to when to say each. I usually answer people with one or the other and a question mark at the end!
Today, I heard a baby cry and cry outside so I went to see what was the matter. The boy was probably 15-18 months old, pantless, walking around our property crying. Sharifu had took him to the guard-house and dumped him on Kimuli and Kimuli put him back outside. I went and picked him up even though he clearly let me know he didn’t want me to pick him up, and I said very loudly, “Hey, that’s enough of that” He immediately quit crying! I asked Sharifu who this kid belonged to and why he was here all alone. Well, the mama was at the well earlier getting water and Raelee was playing with the baby and told the mama to leave him here so she could play with him. Then Raelee’s attention went somewhere else and she just left the baby. He lives right on the other side of our fence and I know his mama could hear him crying because I hear him crying all the time from my house. Sharifu had already gone to the fence trying to get her, I don’t know if she didn’t hear him or just was enjoying her freedom! So I carried him home. I told Sharifu AGAIN that they all have to learn to tell Raelee no. Sunday, the lady with twins was begging to go home but Raelee wouldn’t let her have her baby back. I tried to explain to Raelee today that people don’t want to say no to her, she is a novelty here, a little mazungu child that runs around just like they do (except fully clothed) and that is a new thing to them. And they love for us to give attention to their children. But it has gotten out of hand when she is kidnapping other people’s children. It was one thing to bring stray animals home, but children? I must put my foot down!
Yesterday we had to run errands in town and while Christian was in the hardware store/shack a very little girl – probably around four – came running to the truck. I opened my door and asked her how she was today and she said “I am fine” and held her arms up for me to pick her up. Christian was gone for a good twenty minutes and that little girl just sat in my lap silently while I talked to her. At one point she laid her head down on me and I thought she went to sleep. Her mama was nearby and a guy I assumed was her father was watching and smiling. When Christian came back he asked if she was going with us! I carried her back up to the sidewalk and she ran to her (father?). It was very sweet, especially when there are so many of the children who are scared of our light skin.
In the beginning of our adventure here, when we turned off the highway to come home there would be so many kids that get so excited, waving and yelling to us either “mazungu” “byee” or they would yell “Wes” (the person we replaced). It’s like we are celebrities. Now when we drive down the road, they wave and laugh and jump up and down yelling “Raelee”! Seems like everyone knows Raelee, the crazy and fun mazungu girl! She is thriving here, and loved by just about everyone that comes in contact with her. Love her or shake their heads at some of her antics! I believe wholeheartedly that she will grow up to reach the hearts of many, many people whether here or wherever God puts her. She is an amazing kid that is following right in her amazing brothers’ footsteps. We didn’t do her a favor taking her in – we are the ones that received the greatest gift. She can definitely be challenging, and as many people here say “stubborn” but well worth it!
A note about being pantless or even naked. I just went to check on my painters and there was a totally naked baby standing at the door squalling. His mama was nearby getting water and thankfully Raelee had other kids occupying her. Most babies do not wear diapers or pants. I have found that this is because 1) they can’t afford disposable diapers or even cloth diapers and 2) this saves on laundry and the water it takes to haul to do the laundry. Easy to potty train I guess, since they don’t have toilets anyway. Easter Sunday while we were in the church building I watched a little girl go right out the door by a tree and she looked left and right and then pulled her dress up and did her business. There was nobody to see her on the left or on the right, but everyone inside behind her could see her! Even older kids do not wear underpants. Let’s just talk about underpants for a second. Either you buy secondhand underwear, don’t wear any or spend outrageous prices to get new ones in Kampala! Now, I will wear previously owned dresses and skirts but I have to draw the line on secondhand undergarments! Ah, life here is so very interesting!