We are heading to the U.S of A. on Friday. Tobi doesn’t officially finish school at Sahel Academy until June 13th. So yes, he’s missing about 1 1/2 weeks of school. That, combined with the fact that next year we will homeschool him, we decided a ‘Goodbye Party’ was in order. At least it was a good idea a couple months ago. But with everything going on in life and ministry, the available days to have the aforementioned party were getting fewer and fewer. We finally realized that it was going to have to happen this week. Three days before we travel to the US. Don’t ask if I’ve started packing yet..
We of course gave Tobi the option, and even encouraged him – to invite his whole class, girls included. Nope. Not even a maybe. A definite no. At least not this year. So it was just the boys. And to be completely honest, they are a great group of boys. And there were only 6 of them. So it was a pretty low key, non-demanding party.
Neal picked the pile of them up at school and brought them home. I was observing when they arrived. Their very first activity was to run up on the porch and promptly remove their shoes and socks. Even before they dropped their backpacks. I should note that one of the boys actually asked me if he could take his off. I answered in the affirmative, as long as he did it downwind from me. The thing that is notable about this, is that it’s 150 degrees outside (okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it is HOT!). And they want to play soccer. In the sun. In the sand. Barefoot. Did I mention it’s hot? There were 3 American kids and 3 African kids. All of them claimed they could play soccer much better barefoot. One of them said, “I can’t dribble very good, but I can’t dribble at all with my shoes on.” They are required to wear shoes at school, so getting to play soccer together sans shoes was quite the luxury. If only all kids could enjoy the little things in life…
Maybe the fact that they are playing in scorching sand makes them move their feet and run faster. Out of sheer necessity. It’s a theory.
So it was soccer for about 20 minutes, then a gallon or 2 of water was consumed. Back to soccer for a bit longer. Then Neal played a game with them that I couldn’t figure out even after watching for a little while. Something to do with kicking a soccer ball back and forth. Even though there were lots of ‘outs’, it all seemed very randomlike — make up the rules as you go. Later Neal commented that he hadn’t played that game since he lived in Benin City (Nigeria). Believe me, that was MANY moons ago. So, it was a real game. He then told me it was called 4 Square. Not at all the 4 Square game I know played with a rubber ball on cement that is divided into – imagine – 4 squares. I’ve been married to this man for nearly 23 years and this was new to me. Fascinating!
After 4 Square (not sure if a winner was determined) the shirts came off and the hose came out. Water wars for a bit. Not a bad idea when it’s 150 degrees. Also not a bad idea when you consider what they looked like – Six 11 & 12 year old boys, covered in multiple layers of sweat, barefoot and running (rolling) in sand. You get the picture….but I should have taken one. So as far as I was concerned, water was welcome!
Meanwhile, the homemade pizzas were in the oven. I haven’t actually had the oven on in at least 2 weeks. The kitchen is plenty toasty without out. Believe me. But pizza was Tobi’s request. Well, he actually said spaghetti first (which would have meant no oven required so I was all for that), but then he decided that the boys would likely prefer pizza over spaghetti. So pizza it was.
They retired to Tobi’s room to watch a DVD – in the dark. Less hot maybe? It was about 98 give or take degrees in there. Neal ‘stopped by’ and told me he turned the AC on as it was quite ripe. Wonder what it would have been like if they had been wearing their shoes? Pizza was delivered to the room and consumed, along with pineapple coconut Foster Clarks (our version of koolaid -which I might add is much tastier than koolaid.) Time was going by much too fast for the boy’s liking and they were running out of it. It’s a school night you understand. As parents started arriving I had to send the boys out with their goodbye cake in a napkin. And yes, I made sure they had their shoes on.