Wednesday 24th June – 7 months, 8 days
Timorese kids are just too damn cute sometimes.
The littlest kid at my new house still hasn’t tired of yelling ‘Malae!’ at me, waiting for me to wave at him, and then waving back. I’m going to have to ask him (or his uncle) his name and tell him mine.
Walking to a work meeting at Hotel Ventura this morning, I walked past some kids, who did the inevitable ‘Malae! Malae!’ yelling and waving act. These ones looked particularly excited / friendly, so I thought I’d cross the road and shake hands with them. (Little kids especially seem to like touching me or clasping my hand in passing. I think it’s a combination of interest in different-coloured skin and generally being quite physically affectionate.)
Well, wasn’t I rewarded. Two brave ones ran to the gate: a little girl, about 7 I reckon, who briefly held onto my arm; and a little fella, about 5, who grabbed my hand, kissed it, and ran off screeching with laughter at his own bravery (or hilariousness, I’m not sure which).
30 kids on the verandah at once was a bit too much, but I am going to miss seeing kids everywhere I go, and the little conversations I have with random friendly kids every day (we do get beyond ‘Malae! Malae!’). Despite all the hardships of being born in this country, Timorese kids have something which I think a lot of Australian parents miss for their own children: the freedom to play and move about, unsupervised, alone or in packs, for extended periods, without getting into much harm. All the time, I see tiiiny little kids confidently trekking on their own to school, or all the way down the road to Tia’s (Aunty’s) place. It's nice.