A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Tickling Game

My nearest neighbor is a 5 year old girl named Grace and her mother Annette, a teacher at the school. Grace and I play the tickle game. It is a cat and mouse game of her running and me catching her to tickle her and then let her run off and start all over again. Last week we were playing this game and she would not let me catch her. I was not in the mood to run all over the place trying to catch a child that wasn’t going to let me catch her so I was about to give up quickly. Grace took off around a school building and I drug myself to give one last ditch effort and hid around a corner of the building waiting for her to come back.

As Grace came back looking for me I jumped out, grabbed her and began tickling her. At first I thought she was screaming in delight but I quickly realized she was sobbing and utterly terrified and upset. I had surprised her so much that she had wet her pants in fear. I tried to apologize and calm her down but she would have nothing to do with me. She ran away.

Grace refused to come home until I was in my house with the door shut. The next morning she would not come out until I had left. I asked her mom to bring her out so I could apologize and we could be friends again but Annette told me Grace needed more time. I went away to visit my friend Lizzie for the next night and day and when I returned Grace would come out of her house but she would have nothing to do with me.

It wasn’t until Sunday morning, 3 days later, when I brought some sidewalk chalk out to our shared front slab of concrete and asked Grace to draw with me that she would finally interact with me. I realize bribery is not the best way to make friends but, I must admit, it worked very well. Grace and I have since colored all the concrete slabs on our school campus, performed cartwheels through the field, washed my floors, eaten an orange together, and played Go-Fish. Needless to say, we have not played the tickle game again, yet.

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