Thursday, August 6, 2015
What you think isn’t how it is…
Some Peace Corps Volunteers hand out ‘sweeties’, or candy, regularly to children. I don’t. Reason why I don’t is because I want children to appreciate ME as a friend. I tried handing out candies to children early in my service when they performed tasks, but that leads to children coming by frequently asking if they can do something for a sweetie. It sounds reasonable, but having children coming by several times throughout the day is tiresome and annoying and I don't have that many tasks to delegate.
This culture has been sensitized to receiving things for free; especially from white people. That is what we do. It is our fault we’ve created this way of thinking.
The only thing I will freely hand out is chalk to use to draw on the cement floor of my outdoor kitchen, which I rarely use. Children eagerly practice writing their names and draw pictures of bicycles and cars with the chalk. They don’t have many opportunities to do this because paper and pencils are a rare commodity in the village.
Another reason I don’t hand out sweeties is these children don’t visit the dentist or even brush their teeth. They may live their entire life not flossing their teeth. This is a big concern of mine.
So, if you envision visiting a third-world country and hand things out; change your vision. In the States we do this handing out of things like sweeties so we can see the smiles on children’s faces. Here I want to see a smile on a child’s face because he can write his name without help anymore.