Saturday, May 16, 2009

Extras on our date night

Normally Friday nights are reserved for date nights. This week we opted to have a family night. So, after my Tae Kwon Do class, we loaded the kids and a watermelon, swung by the local kebab place for some chicken, and headed to the park for a picnic. Soon after arriving, we noticed two little guys hanging out in the park. Actually, I shouldn't say 'hanging out,' they were actually pile-driving, wrestling, and chasing. It didn't take us long to figure them out. Decent clothes, but perhaps their only set? The slightly darker skin. The fact that they were totally unsupervised. The dirty faces and hands. I mentioned to Ross, "I think they must be either from a village or the gecekondus (shacks) or maybe even beggars." He agreed. It is hard for me to capture in photos why we thought that, but after living here a few years, it's easy to detect.

These guys clearly had a tight bond. Now I know 'boys are different,' (I've certainly heard that phrase a lot in the last 7 months), but this went beyond playful scuffling. EVERY chance they got, they tackled. They punched. They slapped the back of the other's head. They pile-drove. But they never stopped smiling, never tattled, for there was no one to whom to tattle. It was clear they were on their own.

We began our picnic, they began spying. Hiding behind trees and bushes, watching those blond girls speaking something-other-than-Turkish. So, then, I opened a can of Pringles and held some out to them. That's when I knew for sure. One walked right up and accepted them. Most well-to-do Turkish kids would politely put their hand on their heart (a gesture of thanks) and refuse them. It's just a matter of good manners. But these boys were either too hungry for that or were used to accepting hand outs.

Later we began playing Frisbee. They could not get enough of it. Wherever the Frisbee went, they darted, then tackled each other over who got it. Then they'd throw it back to the blonds. I asked if I could take their picture. That became a game. No photos. They'd see the camera, die laughing, and hide behind the nearest bush.

We had far too much bread with our chicken kebabs. I offered it to them. They snatched it and ran to hide and eat it. It was clear. They were hungry.

Ross finished eating and organized a Frisbee throwing game, teaching them how to play the non-tackle version of the game. I broke out the watermelon and had the girls take a piece to them. One of my girls said, "Did you see how much of it he ate? All that's left is white!"

Then it was time to go. Since Ross had been playing with them, he thought he might be able to get a picture for me. He walked up to them and stuck out both fists. They grinned and tapped one. Ahhh, a piece of candy. Then he said, "But I want a photo." One ran off shrieking in laughter and hiding. But one little guy said, "Ok, not him, but me. I want my picture taken." Adorable. I like a kid with some guts to not just do what his friends do. Of course, you know what happened. The other one couldn't be outdone. He wanted his picture made, too. And candy. Can you see why I persisted? They are adorable.

As we left, Eva gave them the rest of her 2nd piece of watermelon. They broke it in half and devoured it. Their names are Can (pronounced John) and Osman (Ohs-man).

You know, they never begged us until the end. But they didn't beg for our Frisbee. Nor our food. Nor our drinks. They begged us to come back tomorrow night. I told them not tomorrow, but maybe next week? They kept insisting, "Tomorrow. You come."

My girls asked a lot of questions. Why do they punch each other all the time? Why doesn't he cry when his buddy hurts him? Where are their parents? Why do the snatch the food without saying thank you? Why do they want us to come back so much? I told them the answer to all those questions is the same...they don't have a family to care for them like we do. It was a memorable time. I hope my kids are learning from things like this, because sometimes to live here, it breaks my heart. I know there are beggar kids in every country. I just want them to have Eternal Hope.

And while all this drama was going on, there sat my little chub.

Please don't laugh at his hat. The setting sun was intense. He is bald. He has no other hat to fit his head.

He enjoyed picking and eating grass. I wonder if I should have named him Billy.

Ya'll have a nice weekend.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Sara. Wow. I just can't imagine what that's like! I know there are probably beggar orphan children in my city. I just never see them. It breaks my heart. What precious boys.

I'm going to pray harder for you tonight. Thank you for being Hope to your city.

val said...

Thanks for sharing! I love keeping up with you through your blog!

Carpool Queen said...

Your children are growing up to see things that others will never notice. It will build a depth of character to them that will be beautiful to behold.

Laurie said...

That is such an interesting story. Ya'll are such a wonderful family! I love Beniah's hat!!!!!

Melanie Keffer said...

Did you notice their very neat haircuts? That stood out to me. Maybe because I don't live there and understand. Still, a sign somebody somewhere has paid attention to them recently.

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