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Posts Tagged ‘children’

Coal for Christmas

Sunday, January 30, 2011

As an American child, I was told that if I wasn’t good, Santa would leave coal in my stocking. And sure enough, one year after a particularly terrible period of fighting with my brother Will, I got coal. Black licorice candy coal, but I was horrified.

(Will and I have since made up, and I find him to be quite the gentleman and very considerate nowadays.)

In Rwanda, Santa isn’t quite as ubiquitous as in the States.  Rwandan parents threaten an alternative punishment for bad behavior. “If you misbehave,” children are told, “the White Man will eat you during the night.”

No wonder some kids are afraid to come near me. If they don’t think I look like a ghost, they think I’m going to eat them.

The good news? Ex-pats are always plentiful around Kigali, so the threat works year-round.

A view of the two of the five volcanoes in the north. The white flowers are used to make Deet, which isn’t as necessary as we thought because there aren’t many mosquitoes at higher altitudes.

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