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Monday, 31 August 2015

Little Man: Essaouira, Morocco - Page 2

Written by Adam Hausman
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The young'uns had taken their game outside the city walls.  It had the feel and organization of a "standing game," maybe maman cutting the jalaba strings for "special permission Saturdays."  I was pleased to see them out there - it nags at me a bit to see their ultra-confined games, like an itch I can't quite scratch. I want to bust them out.  The quality of play was beyond impressive, but it was the "mature” demeanors that had me rubbing my eyes - optical illusion-like.  I had trouble believing what I was seeing. 

I'm always mesmerized by the appearance and behavior of third-world(ish) children living adult lives - specifically, the adoption (out of necessity) of adult mannerisms.  With boring consistency, I'll say, "That's a little man right there."  I think it's understood that I don't intend this comment to be one of admiration or respect, but also not one of sobbing sympathy.  It's fascination.  I know I'm witnessing a childhood robbed.  I'm just an observer.

Me: "How old do you think that kid is?"

"Six, seven?"

Me again: "Maybe.  That's a little man right there."

And he's drumming up business: shining shoes, serving tea, pushing carts, selling tissues, scrubbing windshields, giving haircuts, playing music, singing, dancing, performing, giving directions, guiding, pitching, begging, pleading, manipulating, stealing, lying, selling, selling, selling.  Little man.

There's little smiling.  There's no baby fat.  There are only "adult" models, and they're all involved with scraping by. Food and shelter.  Maybe candy.  That's their reality.  Five years before my world even expanded to allow for wrapping toilet paper around neighbor's trees or jacking basketball nets from neighborhood hoops, these kids are making a living, and probably helping to provide for their families.

They wear their rags like adults.  They crease their hats like adults.  They relate to each like adults.  They move like adults.  They talk like adults.  They fight and argue like adults.  They work like adults.

And play football in their spare time.

Atwistingvein 

(c)Adam Hausman

artwork by Josie Gallagher

 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 01 September 2015

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