Growing up really sucks sometimes. Running around without a care in the world except where I need make my next fort was my mantra for most of my childhood. I watch the kids here and see that they have similar missions: catch all the creepy crawlies, create an awesome stick collection, and look for every opportunity to eat cookies!
I still look for every opportunity to eat cookies.
But as a kid, you are oblivious to most difficult things. Kids often don’t care if you’re fat or have bad teeth or if your skin or religion is different. They just want to play and eat cookies.
When did we change?
There has been so much hurt in the last few weeks, months, years…maybe its just because I’m in tune to news now as a socially responsible, post-grad 20-something millennial. When the killings to Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and the Dallas DART happened, I was in Moundou (which means 3g cellular network) and I actually was able to load the news. As each day passed and something else happened, I didn’t know how to feel. So after checking in with friends in the US, I bought some cookies and shared them with the doctor’s kids we were staying with as they taught me French and watched French cartoons.
Once back in the bush, I relayed this new info to our team. They were equally saddened as no news had reached them (social media restrictions are in effect). I felt terrible as I relayed this news to the adults and one little 7 year old listened on. He looked really confused why this would be happening. He had a look on his face that said, “I don’t know what’s going on but I know that it’s important and sad.”
Now as other things happen (and continue) like Nice, Turkey, racism, refugees, child brides, sex slaves, crazy presidential candidates, let’s just remember to always have open arms, stand up for what’s right, and to share cookies with everyone, no matter how different they are.
Ps if you want to see more photos, check out my Instagram at Instagram.com/zchgtly
Zachary Gately, MPH
L’Hopital Adventiste de Béré
ATTN: Zachary Gately
52 Boîte Postal