Like all ‘wannabe good parents’, we try to teach responsibility. One way we have tried to do this with Myron is for him to have a few pets that he looks after: at the moment it’s rabbits and guinea pigs.
But he doesn’t have the responsibility alone, the frontline carer for these rabbits and guinea pigs is Myron’s friend Odong who lives behind us. Each morning Odong walks around our village picking food from neighbouring properties. He then comes over to feed them. Myron joins him of course, mostly dancing around (literally), possibly doing a little play fighting, gymnastics and generally keeping Odong company. When they clean out the rabbit cage, it’s the same deal: Myron ‘helping’ Odong, mostly with his company and conversation, and our constant encouragement beckoning from the door.
Since Odong clearly has a large stake in these pets when we sold some of the rabbits we split the profits with Odong: it was 10,000 shillings (£2 or $4 Aussie). And what did he rush out to spend the money on? A pair of flip flops (thongs), currently his only pair of shoes; a tube of toothpaste and some underwear.
Odong is 12-years-old. He’s the youngest of three brothers and lives with his single-mother. His mother digs for a living, which is very intermittent as a good third of the year is the dry season.
Odong is extremely kind, generous and humble with a soft heart. Even though food is short in supply, he often brings us cassava and roasted maize.
I’m not even sure how to end this, but when I was 12 and I got a few dollars, I’d be going straight to the sweet shop.