Day 383: Meet the Press

by lara, lara@trippingonwords.com

Things have been even more nuts than usual around here, as we have had a journalist staying with us researching a story. Happily, she seems very “our people” and great to have around, which means that unhappily, we have forgotten any pretense we may have had of professionalism.

Oh well. It is hard to maintain a professional attitude when you are in mid-conversation about your philosophy regarding non-profits and kids run up to you shrieking “touch me die! Touch me die!” at which point you start tapping them on the head, causing them to fall over and pretend to be dead. Obviously, to the casual observer, this seems a morbid kind of game, particularly at an AIDS orphanage in Africa.

But then the kids get tickled, which brings them back to life, and then they start shrieking it again, and whacking you on the back of the knees until you become ‘touch me dead’ and fall down to the floor yourself. Any attempts at explaining the logistics of the orphanage are then put on pause while you’re dead, until the 15 kids successfully manage to tickle you until you can’t actually take it anymore and you come back to life.

This entire game is all based on a tiny plant near the entrance of the orphanage that curls up its leaves when you touch it. It is called the “touch me die” plant, and it has sparked this new, all-absorbing form of recreation. Within 25 minutes of arriving here, said journalist had been introduced to the plant, and soon after the game, and warned of the attacks that would ensue whenever she left our apartment. She handled it like a champ.

Tomorrow, we wake up and prepare for the arrival of the magazine’s photographer. This has the kids giddy with excitement. The kids hit the chamba (garden/farm) in the morning, and we work too at our paying jobs that keeps our hands softer than farming and are therefore deemed our “not work” around here. However, since we do not usually run on Saturdays, many of them have washed their running shoes this evening after a slip-n-slide-esque muddy run, and therefore are very concerned they will not be able to wear them in the picture. We have tried to explain that they can actually put on wet running shoes, and they just laugh and walk away gesturing at us and talking in Kikuyu.

We have faith that they’ll get it together for the actual photographer, though. When we explained they would be in a magazine, they all got kind of quiet, and it was only through questions over the next few days that we figured out how excited they were. Our magazines began disappearing as they slipped into wider circulation, and as the running star James told us, “if I open a book like this one, and see even these ones from Tumaini, I will no longer be able to hide my teeth.” He meant he would never stop smiling, and we just desperately hope that we can manage to round up enough kids at the appropriate time tomorrow to make this whole idea come true. I don’t know how 170 kids can be so hard to find whenever you actually need them.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Claire and Lara-How exciting that the Runner's World photographer and journalist are there this week. That's a big deal and just think of all the publicity you will get. Way to go!!!

Claire-Our friend John just signed up for e-harmony at my suggestion and really loves the results!!

Lara-There is a new Reality TV show here called Shear Genius and its about finding the best hairdresser and on last week's episode they used gardening shears to cut models' hair.

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