Conversations Under the Gate

There are a lot of kids in our neighborhood. They spend hours almost every day playing on our street in rain, shine, snow, you name it.

Our house provides them with two consistent games. We have an outdoor light with a switch fairly high up the exterior wall. We noticed the first few weeks that the light would turn on and off seemingly on it’s own accord. What we later discovered is that one child would be the goalie, and the rest of the kids tried to get past him or her to turn the light off. Harmless fun.

The second game is also harmless but much more disruptive than the first. We have a garage – if you can call it that – that holds our water tanks. A month or so ago, that garage door became the goal for soccer matches. As children score, a large BOOM can be heard throughout the house.

Recently, the kids invented a new game. It’s called “Throw the Ball On the Roof and Watch the Americans Go Get It.”

I was home alone the first time it happened. I was outside with the dogs and suddenly I heard loud banging on our gate. This isn’t necessarily uncommon, but when it continued for several minutes without an answer the kids lost patience. We have about a four inch gap between the bottom of the gate and the ground. Suddenly little faces appeared and started yelling at me in Tajik and Russian.

I called in reinforcements and mobile patrol explained they wanted their ball back off the roof. Being the clumsy human I am I told them I would have someone else get it down and would return it later. Once this happened it became a game to them and we had a ball on our roof every other day for about two weeks.

The kids are also quite curious of Izzie and Soya. Tajiks don’t usually like dogs but the majority of these kids are at least tolerant. They are especially interested in Soya since she’s smaller and less of a chicken than Izzie who barks at everything. She regards them with the same curiosity when their faces appear under the gate. Yesterday, however, was the first conversation.

Most of these kids speak only Tajik, a few speak Russian, but they all  know one  word in English: hello! They call out to us constantly. Opening the gate: hello! Walking to the market: hello! Driving past with the windows down: hello!

They are parrots as well. We’ve come home to a crowd outside the gate and occasionally a few try sneak in the yard, to which I say something like “no, no, please don’t!” and suddenly I have five kids chanting back at me “no no! please don’t! no no! no no!”

So yesterday we are out in the yard and suddenly eyes appear under the gate. Iz starts barking, but Soya wanders closer. Sean and I both don’t want her getting close to the kids for a few reasons. One, she may scare them and cause an incident, and two, I don’t want the kids to slip something to her that may be harmful. These kids don’t know that dogs can’t have garbage or candy or whatever, so I’d rather everyone keep their distance.

The trouble is that we’ve had Soya for months now and they’ve heard me say her name and Izzie’s enough times to know that one of them must be the right one. I also say “Soya come here” a lot, and of course the kids picked it up. Well almost. It all came out sounding like Spanish of all things.

“Soya! No no! Comer!” “Comer Soya!” “Soya no no!”

Poor baby dog didn’t know what to do.

One thought on “Conversations Under the Gate

  1. So fun to read, and possibly laughing at the thought of you throwing a ball on the roof of the family room a few years back. Karma

Leave a Reply