Jonathan and I were driving across town to pick up his big brother, and I'm still wondering about the conversation we had. As we were traveling down one of the main roads in the city, he began asking me questions about all of the armed "soldats" (French word for soldiers) that we regularly see along the roads and near diplomatic or government residences.
The conversation went something like this...
JONATHAN: "Mama, why all soldats always out?"
ME: "They are out doing their job."
JONATHAN: "Day need deir guns to do deir job?"
ME: "Well, since their job is to protect people, they have just in case they'd need to use them."
JONATHAN: "Day protect from rock humans?" (that one took me a little while and some further questioning to figure out.)
ME: "Are you asking do they protect us from people throwing rocks?"
JONATHAN: "Um hum!"
ME: "Yes, on some days that is part of their job."
JONATHAN: "Rock humans dem want to hurt us?"
ME: "The 'rock humans' are people who are protesting something they aren't happy about. It is one way people say that they'd like to see a change. I don't think they are just out there trying to hurt others, but to get attention."
JONATHAN: "Like me yell some times so you listen me?"
ME: "Yes, but there are better ways to get attention than to throw rocks or climb in someone's face and yell, right?"
JONATHAN: "Um hum."
(Long pause, while he takes a few minutes to think things over and formulate his next question.)
JONATHAN: "Do soldats shoot rock humans to make dem stop?"
ME: "I don't think so, not usually."
JONATHAN: "Why guns, den. Day no use dem?"
ME: "Not usually."
JONATHAN: "Dem ever shoot sumpden (something)?"
ME: "Sometimes they shoot something called tear gas."
JONATHAN: "What tear gas?"
ME: "It is something they shoot that makes the rock humans eyes cry a lot so they can't see really well and they stop throwing the rocks. That way no one gets badly hurt. The rock throwers don't hurt people and the soldats don't have to shoot anyone."
ME: (after a few minutes) "Was that all you wanted to ask me?"
JONATHAN: "Um hum. We most dere to get Bren-bren? Me miss him."