Fence Repair

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.

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7 Responses to Fence Repair

  1. Linda Winant says:

    Love this snippet of life in Ghana.. . . expect the unexpected.

  2. bill carter says:

    Funny!!!. I should think we may have that goat for Christmas dinner. Set up the BBQ pit close to the hole in the fence. I know you don’t eat meat. However, it may make for a good neighborhood holiday feast and…of course, save some for Santa along with some ground nuts. And above all, don’t forget the goat mik. Create A Great Weekend.

    • lsmittle says:

      Killing a goat or pig for Christmas dinner is a tradition for many Jumbo residents. You know me well, Bill. I would love some goat milk or cheese, but I will let someone else eat the meat. Perhaps I will make some groundnut cookies for Santa. Maybe I should make a test batch today…

  3. sharon says:

    Hope he didn’t eat much of your garden. I can just imagine what was going through those boys head as you told them to go get the goat. Glad you got the fence fixed hope the goat finds something else to chew today.

    • lsmittle says:

      Thanks, Sharon. My garden is almost finished for the season. Two young girls picked the final cucumber and squash today. They were so proud to present them to me (with a “Hello, Madam” and a knock on my gate), I didn’t have the words or the heart to tell them the veggies were not quite ready to be picked.

  4. Gabriele says:


    I wonder if it was indeed the goat or the boys were sending you their scapegoat (ha) and saving their friend….OR, are then I was thinking that you give out really good treats to repair the previous damage and perhaps the boys were working the system for some more afternoon snacks.

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