Saturday, November 26, 2011

Building a Dam: Reflections on Childhood

Yesterday, I went to a wadi with my host family, immediate and extended. This is something we do quite often. We go and sit by the water and barbecue and just relax.

When we were there yesterday, though, my youngest host sister and a host cousin decided to try to dam the wadi. For those of you who aren't familiar with what wadis are, essentially they are valleys with streams of water snaking through them. They are mostly composed of smooth rocks varying in size from pebbles to about the size of my head. The section they decided to dam was about 6 feet across, so not a massive undertaking. After a while, I decided to help out. 

Building a dam is a process. It involves first placing large rocks and then filling in the gaps with smaller ones. There's a methodic aspect to building a damn, but also it can be unpredictable--anything could fall apart at any moment. 

But it made me think: some aspects of life extend across anyone's childhood. It doesn't matter what color you are or what your first language is, but the truth of the matter is that you were a child once. You can relate to the childhood fun of damming a stream or wadi or whatever running bed of water was in your community. Childhood is, regardless of culture or background or language, essentially made up of the same aspects. You're a kid, so you're going to have fun. You're going to try to stop up the river. 

Which makes me realize that children are the same, no matter where they live. 

I'm not really sure what the point of this blog post is, actually; I just wanted to share some thoughts that I had about this quite simple undertaking by my host family. 


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