Priska’s World

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Aside from a few trinkets that sit on a shelf, Priska has no toys. She has no high chair, no crib, no stroller, and she wears a cloth diaper only at night or for special occasions. In the morning Sophie gives her a thorough bath in a bucket, moisturizes her skin with a dab of Vasoline, and slips on a clean dress. Sophia says, “I love her more than I can say.”

Immediately after the bath, off Priska goes to her world of dirt. There is no grass, no concrete sidewalks, no wood chips or stones, nothing to cover up the endless landscape of red clay dirt. And Priska loves it. She sits in it, rolls in it, sifts it through her hands, piles it on her head. She takes a pan, stirs up some dirt with water, and sets it next to the fire. Then she takes the pan and balances it on her head (an important skill for a Malawian one year old.) She scrubs the outside of the pan with dirt like she sees Dzisunge doing. (It makes a great SOS pad.) She finds a piece of plastic bag tied to a tree. She pulls it, wraps it around the tree, wraps it around herself, tries to tie it up. She pokes sticks into it, makes a toothpick and sticks it in her mouth. Then she moves on to trying to tie her shoes. She holds the laces and walks the shoes alongside of her. She sings and chatters, happy to have the world as her playground. In minutes she looks like a very cute little mess and Sophie is rolling her eyes. This is going to be a three bath day.

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