I walk faster than African people

Especially little kids, but grown-ups as well. This might have something to do with the fact that I get tired really quickly while walking while they can go long distances afoot even in the heat of the day.

I noticed this this morning while I was on the way to church with the neighborhood kids. The biggest kid, a girl named Mariette, who is 10, kept up with me. The other, littler brothers fell behind. Every time I would look up from paying attention to not stepping in mud puddles or animal poo, there would be the little boys half a block behind. I ended up picking up the littlest one and carrying him on my shoulders. Shades of yesteryear, carrying Phillip and/or Jeneba Diane on my shoulders. Abraham always refused to be carried after he got big enough to walk by himself. Sign of his future personality even at that time! This little fellow submitted to being carried for about three or four blocks and then wiggled to get down, whereupon he held my hand – also shades of Phillip.

I don’t know if it is just a generally unhurried pace of life or if they know something about living in intense heat and humidity that I don’t. You’d think, growing up in Washington DC before the days of air conditioning (in the home, anyway), and all those years spent in the tropics in my 20s and 30s,  that I would have picked this up but over the years I have acculturated to the American way of zipping along.

I’m sure the bike will be the same way. This city is pretty much flat. There is a little bit of a hill going up from the stream that runs through the university campus in both directions. I’d say it probably goes up 5 meters from the university to here. People riding up that hill are pedaling slowly. My friend Djibi, when I said I wanted to buy a bike to ride to the university, mentioned the hill as an obstacle. No doubt he thinks I’m crazy to want to ride a bike when I can afford to buy a scooter.

I have been feeling the heat. I try to walk every morning, at least three or four kilometers, to try to accustom myself. Pretty soon, the dry season is going to come and the humidity will drop significantly but the heat will increase during the day. At night, it should be better. Maybe I’ll become a vampire…

In other news, the kids stripped a bunch of leaves off my trees and made cute little folded purses out of them. I gave them money for candy, and so the next day there were more, but I didn’t buy any more. But here is a picture of the little purses I did get.

tiny handbags

The muddy one in the middle was made by the littlest and cutest kid, Mariette’s little brother Richard(? not sure about the name).

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