Children are Diamonds

One of the University’s visiting writers reports from the most ancient human home.
  1. In Africa, everything is an emergency. Your radiator blows out and as you solder a repair job, kids emerge from the bush, belonging to a village that you’ll never see, and reachable by a path you hadn’t noticed. Though one of them has a Kalashnikov, they aren’t threatening, only hungry. Eight or ten of them, aged eight or ten, they don’t expect to be fed by you or any other strange adult. Although you know some Swahili, you can’t converse, not knowing Lango, but because there is plenty of water in the streams roundabout, they are fascinated that you choose to drink instead from bottles you have brought. Gradually growing bold enough to peer into the open windows of your truck, they don’t attempt to fiddle with the door or reach inside, seeing no food or curious mechanical delectables. The boxes packed there white-man-style are cryptically uninformative. Meningitis and polio vaccines, malaria meds, deworming pills, folic acid, Vitamin A and similar famine-fighters. However, they will re...

The complete text of “Children are Diamonds” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on

Originally published in Portland, September 2007

Great reading. Anywhere, any time

Subscribe to Byliner to finish this and thousands of other riveting stories for just $5.99 a month. Get started now with a 14 day FREE trial.

Join Today

Already a member? Sign in