How You Know Your Kids Live in Africa

You know your kids live in Africa when…

-they often clean up their toys by carrying them on their heads… though it makes us a little nervous when they use this approach to clear the table!




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-your child carries pretend food on his head and yells, “Buy groundnuts {peanuts}! Buy groundnuts!” as he shoves it in your face.

-the made up names of your preschooler’s dolls and pretend friends are “Uche,” “Kinnamon” and an assortment of names that you are not sure how to spell.

-one of the first questions your preschooler asks when going to a friend’s house, restaurant or store is, “Is there gonna be a bathroom there?”

-they barter when they play store.

-their preferred method of carrying their dolls and stuffed animals is on their backs.





-your preschooler is so used to people calling him “bature” or “white boy” that he has begun describing people as “You know, that black man….” (Yeah, we’re working on that…..)

-your preschooler’s made up stories sometimes involve “siren people” {mililtary or police}, checkpoints and large potholes.

-when you tell your child no, we’re not going to the zoo today, he asks, “Are they on strike?” (Judah wanted to go to the zoo for his birthday, but we discovered upon arrival that they were closed because of a strike. However, one of the women took pity on Judah and gave us a personalized tour of the zoo – and even refused to take payment for it. The day obviously stuck in his mind!)

Judah's personalized birthday tour of the zoo

Judah’s personalized birthday tour of the zoo

-one of their first words is the name of the power company.

-they know the sound the power makes when it comes on and yell excitedly.

-they can distinguish between generator and city power.

-your son asks if we will need our passports when we talk about going on a trip.

-your communication with grandparents is so dependent on Skype that when your then-almost-two-year-old overhears you talking about them coming to visit, he runs to the computer and points, as if you will somehow be picking up a computer at the airport.


Bedtime stories with Grandpa and Grandma via Skype

-your preschooler is slightly disappointed if the chicken or fish doesn’t come with the head.

-your son distinguishes bugs and food by saying, “Mommy, I love termites. Those are my favorite flying food.” (And when he finds a termite, he runs inside carrying it and yelling, “Mommy! Can we cook it?!” while your daughter cries, “I wanted it!”)

-their concept of distance is relative to places they have flown and where their grandparents live:
“Can we go to Obed’s house today?”
“No, not today.”
“Why not? Is it far, far away? As far as Grandma’s house?”
“No, it’s not that far.”
“It’s just a little far? As far as the airport {a four hour drive from our house}?”
“No, it’s not that far, either. Just a short drive away.”
“Oh. Why can’t we go then?”


11 thoughts on “How You Know Your Kids Live in Africa

  1. Pingback: Two Homes | Those Winklers

  2. /ha ha ha.

    Its funny – my kids did some of this while we were in the US recently – dolls on backs, things on heads….and NEPA cries and all the rest.

    I’m glad they also remember The Netherlands fondly and know life isn’t always like this. But that they too enjoy being home in Nigeria.


    • That’s so funny! I love that they did that in the States! They were pretty young when in the Netherlands, weren’t they? Or maybe you’ve been back here a shorter time than I thought…. Pretty cool that they remember….

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