Thursday, September 01, 2005

We dared not throw out any candy or hand out toys here because the kids were so relentless. The pack that followed me and my truck around was under the (common) impression that Americans are so well off that they can afford to give you whatever you want, if you just ask enough times. They probably asked me for water about 50 times, candy (they say chocolate or, phonetically, 'shock-o-latta') about 30 times, the rations in the back of our truck about 25 times, and my watch about 15 times. Other items, particularly my knife, prescription eye glasses, and earplugs were asked for about five times each.

As the sun went down and my blood pressure went up, I (knowing they don't speak much English but yet needing to vent) replied to their incessant queries with, "NO! NO WATER, NO FOOD, NO SHOCK-O-LATTA, NO NOTHING, AND ALL THE STUFF ON MY VEST IS MINE!" Literally ten second later, I'd hear, "Mistah, give me water. Give me shock-o-latta."

At one point, they asked me for water for the 50th or so time (when I got into/out of the truck, they could see our own half-empty water bottles inside). I replied, "NO WATER! NO WATER AT ALL! JUST A FEW BOTTLES AND THEY'RE OURS! NO WATER! DON'T EVEN ASK. N-O W-A-T-E-R!" Not five seconds later, this one skinny kid said, "Mistah, MISTAH. Give me water?" I am not kidding (and certainly not proud) when I tell you that I stepped forward, parting the little band of urchins, and nearly struck the kid. Instead I told him that we had no water, although I added a few new words that probably are not in their English grammar books. Posted by Picasa
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