There have been things that I didn’t want to post because they weren’t all that great. Most were not a big deal so they stayed off the blog. Today, however, I had an incident at the pool that at least provoked me to write this. Not sure if I will post it but I’m writing it nevertheless.
At the end of the day I came home and decided to go for a swim. The kids happened to show up and so I invited them and they came with me. Unfortunately, the big pool was being cleaned and only the kids pool was open. There were already three kids in the small pool, two of whom are the kids of the owner who is French. I’ve seen them around a lot but I don’t really know them all that well. The kids all started playing in the pool and it seemed to be going well so I went to to relax on a lounge chair. I kept watching all the activity and watched keenly as the owner’s son began to get a little rough hitting the kids with the boogie-board and then starting to slap them. He even tried to swim under the boogie board while Anna was on it to knock her over. (She’s 4.) They, however, seemed to be working it out so I didn’t do anything, but was getting ready to say something along the lines of play nice or whatever you say in French. Then the owner’s son got his flip-flops and started hitting Chris with them, but it still had some element of play as Chris wrestled one from him and backed him down until he stopped. All seemed okay again as the kid got put in his place a little bit. But, the kid kept persisting (he had to get the best of Chris, I could see it in his persistence) so finally Chris pushed him to the side and he scraped his elbow on the side of the pool. He made a big deal about it but he left so I thought okay he’s gone and all should be fine now.
Of course, I thought there might be a problem if he was going to tell his Dad, and that is exactly what he did. Patrick, the owner, came up about 10 minutes later and came directly to talk to me. He was not happy and had completely bought his son’s version of events. I listened and understood what he was saying and waited patiently to respond. He called Chris over and started to lecture him and told him that he had to leave and to not come back. So, I then said, actually Patrick your son was the one causing the problems and kept coming after Chris (and even Anna) pushing him, slapping him, hitting him with the boogie board. I saw it all, and that was how it went down. After I said this, Patrick then changed his tune a bit, but only so much and the worst part was when he told me, in front of Chris, that “these kids from the village are no good”…blah blah. Unbelievable. I almost lost it, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to make it into something worse especially for Chris, and Israel and Anna too. They were having so much fun.
My good friend Appo, one of the waiters, came up to me and we talked. I told him I was very upset and he understood all too well, as did all the other workers, who know how these kids act. I feel their sense of entitlement so I can’t imagine what the workers feel like and or better yet how the “kids from the village” feel about it. It’s “their pool” even though I am paying for the “village” kids to play there too. Even the guys cleaning the pool told me they saw what happened, and they knew exactly what happened, but, of course, they can’t say a word. There is an order here, and you can’t upset it.
For me, I can blow it off. But, for the “kids from the village” it’s another story. They have to live with that elitist attitude and they have nothing they can do about it. The “kids from the village” is nothing more than thinly veiled code for the poor kids. The really poor kids. Code for those kids that don’t have a bed, shower, TV, or pretty much anything else. They play with bottle caps. And you are going to say they are a problem. Ha, what a joke. Let me say this: if you have privilege, if you have luck, then it’s your goddamn job to help them not degrade them. They certainly don’t need to be called, nor to be thought of, as “kids from the village”. Sorry to say it, pal, but your son kept provoking the kids from the village and he got what he deserved. Actually, he got less than what he really deserved. You should tell him that, and also tell him he should learn to respect all people even the kids from the village.
The elitist attitude that sees kids as being “from the village” can rot in hell as far as I’m concerned. My Grandpa was from the village.
John Doces. Je vous écris de la Côte-d'Ivoire en Afrique.