Often times, when comparing two cultures, it is the differences that stand out. When I return from Africa and tell my friends about my experiences there, much of what I relay are the things that separate Swazi culture from my own here in the US. . . and there are plenty of these differences to report.
I have also found things that are very much the same between our two cultures. One of thing I’ve noticed while spending time at the orphanage, and am very glad to report, is that kids are kids!
It seems that whether at home in Michigan, or on top of a mountain in Southern Africa, there are certain aspects of being a kid that are identical . . . and I suspect, universal.
Kids are cool. Yes, even at El Shaddai where clothes are almost exclusively donated hand-me-downs, kids have no problem piecing together a Look. Factor in some tough poses and fashion-model-quality facial expressions, and the coolness of kids in eSwatini cannot be denied. They have even perfected the I’m too cool for you eye roll that I thought American kids had exclusive rights to. Kids are kids and teens are teens, and I wouldn’t want it any other way 🙂
Funny face making seems to be a skill that doesn’t need to be learned. . . I think it may be genetic. Our kids at the Orphanage have no shortage of funny face genes.
It is the right of every child on the planet to be able to showoff a little. I was privileged to have witnessed this impressive display of muscle while hanging with the boys.
Mischief! As adults, we sometimes wonder how much easier life would be if kids simply did what they are supposed to do and never broke the rules. But kids are kids, and getting into mischief is part of being a kid . . . even in Africa (they know they are not to be playing on the water tank). As frustrating as it can be, I would suspect something was very wrong at the orphanage if there weren’t some type of shenanigans going on from time to time.
You can learn more about El Shaddai Children’s Home and Compassionate Life at our website, Compassionate Life.