Below is another early entry from Nathaniel’s African journal.
Three sweeties climbed down from my friend’s Land Cruiser: Godfrey, Charles, and Viola. Their friend, Kasumba (pronounced “Kuh-SOOM-baw”), lives with me. They adore each other, and my friend brings her little neighbors to visit us whenever she can.
I had not told Kasumba (age 10) that they would be coming. In a land of unpredictable weather, severely bad roads, and unexpectedly-expected trauma, one never knows if plans will actually come about. I didn’t want to disappoint him.
But they came!
Very happy. Big smiles. Expectant spirits. Excited.
The reunion was grand, as usual. They brought Kasumba’s favorite homemade snacks for him. A huge cluster of bananas and a jackfruit for us. And a hand-woven wall hanging for me.
The day was spent with three extra sweethearts mixed in with our gang. I think it’s safe to say that a good time was had by all. Good food. A nice nap. Gifts, laughter, and celebration.
Too soon it was time to leave. Standing near the Cruiser, saying my goodbyes to my friend, I watched as the three heads popped out of the house, one by one, and came to the car.
Viola first. She was holding one of Kasumba’s toys. A Christmas gift to him, now given to his “sister” (as he refers to her — though they are not related).
Then Charles. Also carrying one of Kasumba’s finest.
Lastly, Godfrey. His face was radiant, for in his hands was Kasumba’s favorite of favorites: a big semi-truck, complete with trailer and lights.
My Aunt Carla had given me money for my birthday, so I was able to buy each of my kids a big toy like this for Christmas. Oh, how Kasumba loves his! He has played with it constantly, running it across the squared tops of our driveway curbs, down imagined highways, up termite hill grades, and across bustling sidewalks. He has regularly cleaned it with the pride of a real long-hauler. And, every night for the last two weeks, he has repacked it into its molded plastic wrapping.
It’s his treasure.
And now it’s Godfrey’s.
“Oh!” my friend said. “Should they be taking your toys?”
Our toys? These are more than toys! I thought to myself. These are our best!
And I was so proud of my Kasumba. He also knew that these were more than toys. They were the very most he had to offer.
So he did.
“Yes, of course.” I said. “They must take them.”
I patted each head on its re-ascension into the vehicle. I helped with the seat belts. I closed the door and waved goodbye.
Another inside-smile. Of course they should take them.