I didn’t think about the future when I was a kid. I just enjoyed and lived my life to the fullest. I had no concerns and was content. I had a lot of friends with whom I did a lot of things. We used to go on road trips, play games, and hang out at each other’s houses. I was quite delighted back then. Football was a popular sport. Every day, I would get up early in the morning, put on my sports shoes, and go play. The rules and player selection would be determined by the owner of the ball, you were not allowed to play if you were not on good terms with the owner of the ball. We liked playing football on sunny days, however we also enjoyed playing in the rain. This was so amazing as the ground would be full of mud due to rains, which would cause players to slip and fall to the ground often which was so funny. Our days were spent at school, playing video games, watching television, and attending church on Sundays. We didn’t care about tomorrow, and we had no idea what stress or life difficulties were. Maybe I should remark that the only stress we felt was from schoolwork. I recall staying up all night working on a school assignment for fear of being thrashed if I didn’t turn it in to the teacher. That was probably the hardest part of my life at the time; the remainder was spent enjoying my childhood games and other lovely moments.
In our street, many children would be involved in different games. When it’s sunny most kids liked playing marbles. Our hands would be very dirty due to playing marbles. We loved playing our marbles on dusty ground, but this would make us uncomfortable shaking other kid’s hands, because they looked clean and we would dirty them. Most kids enjoyed eating green bananas called “matoke” in our language. Mostly they are boiled and then, later on, fried together with white potatoes. I can still remember how our mouths would be salivating due to its smell before being served the food.
One thing I appreciated about adults was their freedom: the freedom to go wherever they want, including attending nighttime activities. For me, being in the house at six o’clock at night was a necessity; otherwise, I would face punishment. In some occasions, I would come home dirty, my cloths covered with mud, my dad would tell me to lay down and I would be whipped. After that he would ask me to go take a shower, and after taking a shower I would eat and go to bed.
I used to play hide and seek at night, but only inside our compound, not outside. This is a game that I would like to play with my brothers. This game was so amusing that I may be caught since I was laughing so hard when I saw my brother pass me without realizing I was right alongside him. During the night after eating supper, we would happily go to bed so that the dawn may reach fast. However, most of the time in the evening my father would tell us a story of Hyena and Hare, how Hare deceived the Hyena and ate its food. This would make us happy and sleeping while smiling after having heard stories from my father.
In my perspective, the entire planet was a single country. I had no idea Zambia, Uganda, South Africa, the United States, Japan, Turkey, or Brazil existed as countries. I assumed white people came from a different village in my nation. When I went to Lake Kivu, I thought it was the end of the world. Whenever I would spot a plane in the sky, I would sing a song stating that “ndege nipeleke kwa baba mdogo,” a Swahili term, meaning “airplane carry me to my uncle.”
Now that I am an adult, I realize what it means to be responsible. I understand the pressures, difficulties, and stress that seniors face, exactly what my parents had to go through in order to raise me. Now it’s all about finding work, saving money, and investing money, all of which I had no idea about when I was younger. One may argue that being wealthy makes you happy and stress-free as an adult, but this is a contentious assertion. Life as a youngster was filled with great experiences to share with my children.
15 February, 2023