Thursday, November 17, 2011

Vagrants in a Pretoria park

There is a very nice park next door to the US Embassy Pretoria. I had the pleasure of taking the kids twice during our week stay in the city. There is a small pond, rows of rose bushes, and a children’s playground.  Most of the benches support vagrants.

The pond is home to a momma and a daddy duck and 5 ducklings. The kids enjoyed chasing the ducks. The ducks will quickly panic and run to the water. The parents quack and herd the little ones until the kids get too close, then they dive into the water abandoning the ducklings on the hard ground. Josie particularly loves birds and will chase each one until they are all in the water. Then she turns her attention to the innumerable other birds running around digging worms. I wish had the camera with me so that you could see the kinds of birds they had there.

The children’s playground is nice, not to any US code, but similar to every other playground we have visited in southern Africa. The second time we went, Teddy wasn’t feeling well so he and Spencer stayed back at the hotel room. Josie and I went in the late afternoon and found 2 other kids there. These two girls looked to be about 2 and 3 years old. I pushed the carousel-like thing (sorry I forget what those are called) for the three girls and helped them on the see-saw. There was no parent in sight, but a modest number of vagrants on benches, so I suspected these girls were part of that group. Josie and the girls played, they dug in the dirt with sticks and climbed the monkey bars. They had a nice time together. Then the older girl pulled down her pants, took two steps back, found a comfy place and pooped. Josie immediately said “potty” over and over again, while tearing at her diaper. While I wrestled her diaper back on, the other two girls poked the poop with twigs. I had tried to be open minded and take it all in stride, but at that point I was so disgusted I picked up my squirming bundle of joy and took her over to the other side of the playground. The girls followed. They grabbed my backpack and pulled some snacks out. I let them keep the nuts and crackers.

The sun was going down and the benches were filling. I was dazed by the experience, and the area would soon not be safe. It was time to leave the park. I wonder what those girls are doing now. 

No comments: