I don't recall that playing with children was part of the Kiva Fellow's job description, but today it was part of mine during a field visit.
After the real work of the day was complete, I started talking to a group of kids who had gathered around me. The children had a vacation day of sorts because schools are in the midst of final exams, and they did not have any tests scheduled today.
Do these kids look old enough to be taking final exams?
I thought not, but in Nepal comprehensive testing begins as early as first grade. And if their English is any indication, these particular kids are excellent students. They talked to me in English, while I tried to respond in Nepali, using my two lessons' worth of vocabulary and phrases.
Although this game had a quick and finite end (they could have kept going with their English, but I soon hit my limit in Nepali), they were happy to play another game: hamming for the camera.
The kohl lining her eyes is intended to protect the smallest children from evil spirits.
When they tired of seeing their own portraits on my camera display, they zeroed in on the littlest child in the bunch.
At the end of the day, we traded phone numbers. My new friend below took down my name, mobile number, address, and birthday, and he shared with me his parents' contact information and his "personal" phone number. And yes, he's all of nine.
I am already looking forward to talking with these new friends again when I next visit their village -- that is if they don't call me first.