Sunday, February 10, 2008
Today, we went on a walk to find lunch. As soon as we ventured outside of the Hilton fortress, we were met by an old-souled, finger-nail-bitten, 11-year-old boy. His name was Teddy, the youngest of four children. He attends primary school, likes black Mercedes (not VW bugs like Tommy and me) and wants to be a doctor (which after becoming, will be the owner of said black Mercedes). His English was excellent. Tommy is the friendlier of the two of us, with an unbelievable social thirst that needs to be quenched, much as this boy needed. Questions, many, many questions were asked and my husband, as they walked a few steps behind me, was happy to answer and ask in return. A half-mile down the road the three of us ate lunch. Were we conned out of the equivalent of $3? Most probably. Is it perhaps the “wrong” thing to do, perpetuating this over-friendly, hustling behavior? Possibly. Did we have a wonderful lunch talking with an amazingly interesting young boy whom we both fell in love with? Absolutely. We regret not making a deal with him from the beginning; “if you promise to practice English and tell us a bit about Ethiopia, can we buy you lunch?” Then it would not have seemed uncomfortable during the beginning of lunch, when he welcomed himself to a seat without being invited, and we would not have contributed to the nail biting that commenced during the meal. In the end, we got more than we gave. Just a lunch, but we will miss beautiful-eyed Teddy.