I met up with the boys there. Getting there was it’s own adventure. I told the rickshaw driver the place. He is chatting my ear off the whole time. This is a problem because it’s not entirely appropriate. Also because we were whizzing along quickly and I could barely make out what he was saying. So he stops at a place and says I am there. It is clearly not where I wanted to be, so I call Jo to give him directions in Arabic. So we bop along to the right place and he is telling me that he loves English (though he speaks none) and asking me if I have a man, if he is here, if I want a local man. Basically making me a marriage proposal. I am completely serious. This is not uncommon. What is surprising, really, is that it has taken this long for my first proposal. I have been forewarned about this. I felt flustered and just pretended like I wasn’t understanding anything he was saying. I was very happy to finally get to the park.
It was totally dark by then, which was strange, but I spent the majority of my time walking around with our boys and trying to encourage them to get on rides. Well, except when the call to prayer sounded and the park all but shut down for about 45 minutes while all the men went and did their prayers. J and I got on the big swings. Safety regulations are much…different here. Four of our boys told us not to get on. But we went and it was fine. After we did a group of them went, which I was happy about. There was a little haunted house ride, an arcade, small ferris wheel, spinning ride, and a rickety looking small roller coaster. I think they had a lot of fun. I had fun watching them. Also got a lot of good time chatting with some of the boys and staff. I’m starting to feel a part of things–a part of their family and community and that feels awesome.
The evening ended, of course, with J’s camera in hand and an ensuing photo shoot. They love, love taking pictures and getting their picture taken. My favorite picture of the evening (which is on J’s camera so I don’t have) was them getting a picture with the pastor who treated them to the evening. He is a funny, good natured guy with a big ol’ belly. One of the older boys stuck his belly out and told the other boys to do the same for the picture. It was great.