The first Easter I recall took place in Africa. I must have been 6 or so, my sister, Gaëlle about 4. A cute little “thing” with unruly golden locks and porcelain-blue eyes. And sometimes a pest of course in her older brother’s eyes. But that’s the way it goes between brothers and sisters. J
We were living in our magical house by the sea on the West African coast, in Conakry, former French Guinea. In the wake of Independence and under Sekou Touré’s incipient dictatorship (one of the most evil and destructive of African independence; Conakry is now sadly referred to as Conacrime) supplies were short and the stores empty. Food was flown in from Dakar every fortnight. (Perks of having an airline father) New toys were a rare, once a year Christmas wonder. And well-kept. Scarcity can make educational wonders. But what does one care when one is six years old and has the open African sea to play?
I don’t know how my father smuggled chocolate eggs into the country. Probably another airline perk. He and my mother hid the eggs on Easter morning in the house in Africa and its semi-wild garden. Our own private jungle.
For what seemed like hours – but then a child’s time frame is quite different – my sister and I searched for the eggs, wary of the many snakes and the neighbour’s malevolent and roaming baboon. I may later tell the story of my close encounter with the wretched animal, suffice it to say I have developed a great dislike of monkeys. 😦
A distant relation of the “malevolent” baboon.
By the time we found the last chocolate egg, the African heat had melted it to something close to chocolate syrup. But that was the great adventure of the day.
My parents kept hiding Easter eggs for us in many subsequent countries, including Holland where chocolate eggs don’t melt! A compensation bonus for the weather. Then as children grow, and abandon some of the most interesting things in life in pursuit of other follies, the egg hiding paused.
My wife and I retook the tradition with our two daughters. In colder venues. No monkeys. But the magic was still there. Until it stopped again as the girls grew. As it should be. But it will be retaken with grandchildren. Some time this century.
There will be no post on Equinoxio next week as I am travelling to Colombia. (Will bring back pictures.)
In the meantime, don’t forget to hide chocolate eggs on Easter morning for your children, grandchildren, nephews, friends’ or neighbours’ kids, or kids on the street – they’re the most likely to appreciate! Takes only a minute. Or two. 🙂
Happy Easter, Joyeuses Pâques, Felices Pascuas to y’all!
All set and ready to go for Easter egg hunting in the African jungle. I mean, garden.
Text and photos © BMO and Equinoxio