Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Posted by LeeAnn Martin on

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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’.

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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….?

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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.

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This wasn’t the first time Mimi appeared in the neighborhood, but it was her first time in this day care center.

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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!)

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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