1 May 2012

Talking about the Workers

Last week, Elias told me that "next Tuesday" he was "going to go on a walk with James (our neighbor), look for spies (naturally), and talk about the workers."

I was most puzzled about the last part of that statement.

Talk about the workers?  Like, gossip about Mama Vida, Mupwa, and NouNou?  I was ready to sit him down and give him a few choice words about RESPECT.

But then, I realized that Elias was talking about today: Tuesday, May 1st.  May Day.  International Labor Day. FĂȘte des travailleurs.

My five-year-old knows what it's all about - without any help from me, I'm ashamed to admit...
He even reminded Mama Vida that she should take the day off today.  "You can stay home and we'll sit at our house and appreciate you for working so hard" were his specific words.

I wish I could claim responsibility for my kid's respect for this important day.  I remember being super pregnant (with him) on May 1, 2006 and watching thousands of mostly Latino immigrants march through the streets of Seattle for The Great American Boycott.  It solidified for me the importance of this international day of the worker and being an sentimental pregnant lady, I made robust & idealistic promises to my unborn child.

But, here I am, in a country where the daily struggle for food trumps ability to successfully organize a labor union and I FORGOT.  I forgot to tell my kids about what it means and why we should care.  

To be fair, the DRCongo isn't devoid of activism - not by a long shot.  And, I'm sure that there are workers out marching today.  May 1st is an important holiday for everyone here - as it is in many countries (except...cough...in our country of origin, where officially, it is both Law and Loyalty Day.)  Although, everyone I talked to (our usual group of experts:  Tchic, Mama Vida, Mama YouYou), told me that most people just use today as an excuse to drink beer and dance.  The international methods of holiday celebration, I suppose.

And so, this has become a blog post where I brag about my kid.  He prioritized when I forgot.  Which makes me like him a lot.  

Writing this has, in fact, led me to forgive him for the almost-insufferable whining that has gone on during our day of 'relaxing' May Day fun....he's a clever one, that Elias...

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