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Those were the days, my friend! [Or, did we really live in Paradise?] (Cecilia Mascarenhas)
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2018-09-14 10:29:04 UTC
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Those were the days, my friend!
[Or, did we really live in Paradise?]

Cecilia Mascarenhas
***@hotmail.co.uk

Lots of controversies when one says we lived in paradise... if
only they knew that indeed it was!

This is how we Asians grew up in Kenya, Uganda and
Tanzania.

What a life it was. We were innocent, frank and straight with
people at home, at school and within the community and
society.

Our childhood was like an adventure, exploration, expedition
and an unassigned project to accomplish without the present
time luxury, hi-fi tools, unbelievable facilities and with
not so much help provided.

No school loans, grants, financial aid or scholarships.
Instead, it was filled with lots of fun, excitement,
enthusiasm, trust, expectation, commitment and
responsibility.

Although not so very easy -- always and filled with some
hardship -- life was beautiful and excellent.

Our love and respect for our parents were second to
none, and our respect for our teachers and elders
in the community and society was in our genes. We
gladly looked after our younger brothers and
sisters without any selfish motive and fuss. We
felt it was our prime and moral duty.

We attended temples, gurudwaraas, churches, mosques, jamat
khannas and prayed regularly and respected all religions

We integrated socially and culturally with people from all
religions, class or creed. In essence, we enjoyed life.

* To all the wonderful kids who were born in the wonderful
East Africa and survived the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's.

* We had mothers who did not check our or their blood
pressure or the temperature every few minutes.

* We never saw or wore the present time diapers, nappies and
liners.

* We bounced our selves without a bouncer and peacefully
slept without a baby cot.

* We sucked cow milk from a soda bottle without being
sterilized or warmed in a bottle warmer.

* We slept during our sleep times be it day or night without
monitors or blippers.

* There were no nurses or doctors to pamper the mums, babies
and children all the time.

* Our baby cribs and bassinets were covered with bright
coloured lead-based paints.

* We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or
cabinets.

* We rode our bikes without helmets, gloves and guards.

* As children we would ride in cars which had no child safety
door locks, seat belts or airbags. Sometimes we sat on each
other's laps, for God's sake.

We shared one soft drink with juugus in it, among four
friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from that.
We would share bhajias, mix, mogo chips and dips or a eat
chapatti and rice from someone else's plate of curry without
batting an eyelid.

We ate jam sandwiches or pickle on bread and butter, raw
mangoes with salt that set our teeth on edge or a grilled
makaai and mogo and drank orange squash. We ate at roadside
stalls, drank madaffu water, ate everything that was bad for
us from karangaa, kachri, makaai, muhogo, channa batetaa,
bhel puri to maru bhajias and samosas. Yet we weren't
overweight and falling sick as we were always outside playing
freely and burning our calories, keeping fit, fine and happy.

During holidays we would leave home in the morning and play
out all day, we were never ever "bored" and were allowed
freedom all day, as long as we were back home at a given
time. We would dare not be late!

We were innovative and creative making and building
things from and out of scraps and junk of old pram
wheels and bicycle rims, made kites using used news
papers, playing traditional games called santa
kukdi, pakda pakdi, nagel, khokho, hutuutu, thappo
and rounders. Luxury and things related to it were
far beyond our imagination, expectation and reach.
We were taught and groomed to be content.

We played, ran and walked barefoot without even being
concerned about it, if we got cut and bled we used tincture
of iodine or spirit on the wound and it was okay and fine
with us. We did not wash our hands ten times a day. And we
were okay as well.

We did not have PlayStations, Nintendos, X-boxes, video
games, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no
surround sound, no mobile phones, no desktop PC, no laptops,
no iPods or iPads, no internet or internet chat rooms, no TV,
no hi-fi and Wifi. We just simply had a BUSH, PYE, PHILLIPS,
MURPHY or a GRUNDIG 2 or 3-band radio placed in the family
sitting room to be shared by all!

We did not have parents, who would ask us questions like,
What would you like to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner? We
ate what was put in front of us. No menu, no choice, no fuss,
no waste, and no leftovers! And after dinner every night in
almost every household the schoolgoing children must recite
all the times tables from 1 up to 25 before going to sleep!

We had very loving, caring and wonderful friends who are
still good valued friends today. Their loving parents whom we
very fondly called Uncle and Aunty, and we were not treated
any different from their own children by them. We fell from
the trees numerous times, got cut, hurt, bled, broke bones
and teeth and there were no compensation claims, but only a
to be strong, rise again and move on consolation!

We ate fruits fallen on the ground, never washed them and yet
never had any viruses or infections of any kind.

We used to bath using a bucket, a koppo and Lifebuoy soap. We
did not know what shampoo, conditioner or a bath and body wash was.

We rode bicycles everywhere in the town with
someone sitting on the carrier or crossbar to
school, cinema or playgrounds. Knocked on the door
of a friend's house and were welcomed without any
hesitation and would be treated with some goodies.
This generation of ours has produced some of the
best risk-takers, problem solvers, inventors,
winners and the most successful people ever! The
past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation
and new ideas with some failures and most
successes.

We had patience, understanding, discipline, respect,
maturity, wisdom, motivation, commitment and responsibility.
And above all: We learned and survived the hard way and had
our parents and grandparents who were overseeing us, with
their experience, guidance, and blessings.

All of these which helped us with how to deal with life and
all it threw at us.
======
Please pass this on to others who have had the luck and good
fortune to grow up as kids in East Africa. Those were the days.

Please send your feedback to the author at
***@hotmail.co.uk and don't forget to share a copy with
a cc to ***@goanet.org :: Goanet, 25 years young. Almost!
Founded by Herman Carneiro (ex-Kenya, NEU, UCL, engineer and
medical doctor) in 1994!

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