What is a toy?

For an African child, the only toys they usually have are the ones they make themselves. We have been involved in an outside crusade this week and while the students from the Bible school set up the equipment, I watch and interact with the children.
Of course, one of their favorite pasttimes is to watch “wazungu”; this is the Swahili name given to “white people”. The name “wazungu” literally means “people who run in circles”; a pretty accurate description of white people for the slower moving pace of East Africa. So, all you have to do is show up and you become an immediate source of entertainment for adults and children alike. All it takes is a smile to cause the children to gather around and the fun begins. Some of the braver ones will eventually touch your skin, your freckles, rub the hair on your arms, touch your painted toenails, feel your hair, the opportunity for entertainment is endless. And, if you actually speak to them in English (for those who are learning and want to practice) and Swahili the opportunities are absolutely endless.
I watched the children playing around me and saw the following; boys playing in the sand and loose dirt, children kicking a small ball made of old plastic bags formed into a ball and held together with old string, laughing, chasing, running, a game of tag, and several children playing with the metal hoop pictured at the beginning of this journal entry. They form a piece of wire into a hoop and another piece is formed into a small hook. They run along side the hoop as they roll it along with the hook.
Of course, the rest of the fun begins when the crusade starts; the music and singing begins and all the children dance and sing. Tanzanians love music and they must move when they sing; the children jump, run, twirl and laugh as they sing the praise choruses that the various choirs sing.
And, at the end of the evening, some of the children who have been playing and you thought weren’t listening go forward to receive Jesus as their Savior. And, for me, that’s the greatest fun of all!

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