I was sneakily taking five minutes this morning to read through an article in Saturday’s Guardian about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, specifically about the use of rape as a weapon of conflict. As is invariably the case, I only got 1.5 minutes before Boogie sniffed me out. She asked me what I was reading. About a country in Africa, I replied. What about it, she asked? Well, how the fuck do you explain the situation in the Congo to a five year old? Without scaring her to death? I admit, it was totally beyond me. Boogie is still a child alive with the wonder of the world and totally unaware that meanness can extend beyond snatching a toy or refusing to allow (yet) another chocolate bar. Yesterday, we were at the cashpoint and she snatched the money when it came out and ran around waving it about and singing. I told her off, explaining that some people steal money when it’s waved in their faces (round our way they do anyway, maybe you live in a more genteel part of town – we, my friends, live in what is politely known as an urban neighbourhood). Her response? ‘But that’s silly. People don’t have to steal; why don’t they just take some out of the wall like we do?’ Aah, bless her privileged little socks.
Safe to say, then, that the situation in the Congo, won’t make a huge amount of sense to Boogie right now.
I said it was a country with a lot of problems where people were very mean to each other. Where people hurt each other even when the person hurt had clearly said no, I don’t like it, in a very loud voice. ‘No, I don’t like it’ being how we’ve taught Boogie to express her displeasure (initially anyway; further than that, all bets are off) when somebody’s doing something she doesn’t like/want.
Beyond that, I was stumped. Part of the reason being that, for all my own cynical, black view of humanity, I don’t want to burst Boogie’s bubble of wonder. Not yet. In truth, I don’t want to ever, but preparation is all in this world we live in.
Judge me at will.