Two children knocked on my gate. “Madam” they called. I stopped typing and walked to the courtyard to see what they wanted. An eight and ten year old boy pointed to a hole in my water sachet fence.
I frowned. An unwanted repeat of a couple of days ago when a small boy kicked a football into the fence,
tearing a hole in it. The new hole was almost in the same spot – close to my courtyard wall.
I had explained that the fence was not a goal net and asked them to play football someplace else. But my English explanation must not have been understood. Or perhaps other boys had created the new hole.
Pointing to the hole and then holding my hands and shrugging my shoulders in a “what happened” gesture, I asked the two boys who tore the fence. They pointed towards a nearby house. “Please, go get him.” I requested with words and body language. The children looked at each other and assessed my request. They didn’t say anything, but their studied gaze into the distance and their questioning look at me said, “You want us to bring the culprit?”
“Please bring him.” I motioned and spoke. They looked at each other again and then headed toward my neighbor’s house. Their apprehension made me think I had sent them to talk to a bigger kid. While they were gone, I tried to decide how stern to be. I knew I couldn’t smile. What words and hand motions would convey the “don’t destroy my fence with a soccer ball” message?
Less than a minute later, the children emerged from the back of my house chasing a brown goat. They pointed to the four-legged creature as he jumped through the basket-ball sized hole in my fence he had created a few minutes earlier. The fence-destroying best scampered through my yard and into the bush.
The goat didn’t notice my frown or my subsequent grin. I didn’t test my “the fence is not strong” words or body language. The boys helped me tie water sachet reinforcements to repair the hole in the fence. I thanked them for their help and walked back into my house, chuckling and shaking my head.
I wonder what tale (or tail?) might be involved with the next “Madam” call and knock at my gate.