I have been sharing stories about Mimi’s adventures all around this small North African country, but I haven’t shared any stories from my own neighborhood. I regularly visit three or four of the local day care centers and play, not as Mimi, but as ‘Mama LeeAnn’.
In December 2014, I had the pleasure of clowning with my friends at ‘Jardin D’enfants Papillons’. I was really hoping they wouldn’t recognize me, and asked the teachers not to tell them who I was. I know they love Mama LeeAnn, but would they love Mimi….?
I felt close to them; there was no distance between entertainer and audience. Kids were touching my hair and trying to look in my bag. There was an atmosphere of familiarity. I saw them as friends, and the feeling was mutual.
This wasn’t the first time Mimi appeared in the neighborhood, but it was her first time in this day care center.
The problem is these kids keep growing and leaving day care to go to school! It was pure joy recently to attend an end-of-school-year party and see so many kids that I haven’t seen for a year or two. And they still remember me! (In the past few days I have also seen Tunisian clowns and entertainers. I will share pictures and stories about them soon!)
This is a picture of my daughter Elizabeth setting up for face painting. It is difficult not to be recognized as LeeAnn when I bring my daughter along. My husband was there also, taking care of the music and pictures. He even helped with face painting.
I love how kids don’t seem to notice I can’t speak Arabic. Seriously, they either don’t notice or don’t care! They feel loved and that is all that matters. Of course, I could do so much more, in and out of costume, if I could speak the language better.
I am very much into relationships. Many of the women friends I have are mothers of kids at the day care centers. It is when I am sitting in kitchens with my women friends that I really wish I could speak Arabic better. Bechwaya, bechwaya! Slowly, slowly!
I am grateful for the grace of God in my life. Without the Lord, I would not be here in Tunisia, and certainly not doing all the things that I get to do.