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A Walk in Asmara

City Center

Leaving the Nyala, I returned to the sidewalk and begin walking northeast again. "Gimme five sentes, sajin." All Americans were sajin.

I looked down to see a girl wearing a dirty grey dress that probably hadn't been washed in all her 3 to 4 years. Running along barefooted with her hand and arm stretched up toward me she repeated, "Gimme five sentes, sajin." This girl was a regular. I seldom passed this place without being confronted by her.

"Gimme five sentes, sajin." she asked again and again in what must have been the only English she knew. As she ran along side, I tried to ignore her and almost stepped on her in the process. Where is her mother? Does she have one? Where does she live? Why does she have so little and we so much? What's her life going to be like ten, twenty years from now? Will she even be alive then? I gave her "five sentes" and quickened my pace trying to forget the questions as I left her behind. ...

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Copyright © 2002-2006 Mike Metras

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