We’re now largely spared random requests as people get to know us, but the children persist.
“Mornu, Mornu!, give me sweet, give me money”. Amusingly some of the lovely little ones even do it in Acoli, our local language “Mia Chweet, Mia Chene” – I’m guessing that has even less success.
How do you respond to that one? The facets to this question are many. Not having money when mornu’s clearly have stacks of cash. Years of dependency on handouts from mornu’s during the war. Parents who do nothing to discourage the behaviour. Every child’s instinctive eye for an opportunity. General excitement at seeing somebody who looks different… I’m sure I’d do exactly the same if I were them!
Knowing how to respond is difficult, but I’ve recently found a great solution which comes in handy from time to time. Knowing a bit of Acoli helps – here’s a recent exchange.
Me : “Mornu, Mornu, Give me sweets, Give me money”
Child: (I revert to Acoli and feign misunderstanding – the key gambit)
Me: “Great, do you have a sweet for me?”
Child: (look of confusion) “give you a sweet?”
Me: “Yes can you give me one?”
Child: “No I’m still a child I have no money” (Golden)
Me “Don’t worry about it, its all good. What’s your name? I’m Otim Nick”
And so continues a More meaningful conversation 🙂