Elizabeth absolutely LOVES to climb the stairs in the back of our house. Of course, these are no ordinary American stairs: they are quite steep and a bit tricky to navigate. Needless to say, we bought a baby gate to keep her out of the back when we’re not watching! In any case, she loves climbing all the way up to the top. She certainly gets her exercise that way (and so do we!).
These stairs are very shallow compared to some of the rickety things that I see kids climbing here in Indonesia. Also, kids play freely in the street – the primary purpose of a road is not for use by vehicles! There are constantly motorbikes whizzing by and big trucks bulging with trash lumbering down the road. For the first few weeks here we wondered how on earth anyone could walk on the streets. But people here walk everywhere and children grow up with this situation and are very careful and aware of their surroundings. Everything: people, motorbikes, bicycles, cars, trucks, just flows like water. We see kids all the time playing in a situation that would make us cringe back home, but then we remember that they are used to it and so are the drivers. This whole situation has made us rethink how much we insulate Elizabeth from her surroundings, versus letting her experience and learn. Of course there a lots of things to be scared of here in a third world country, but we do not have to live in fear! Even so, my hand will be right next to Elizabeth every time she goes up and down those stairs, just the same way that God’s hand is right next to us all the time.