Tobi and the New Kid

“There was a new kid in school today,” Tobi said to his mom. “His family just moved back to Nigeria from the United States.”

            “That’s nice,” Mom said. “Is this his first time in Africa?”

            Tobi shook his head. “He said he’d been to Kenya before, but never Nigeria.”

            “Hmm.” Mom replied. “Everything must seem so strange compared to what he’s used to.”

            “Yeah, he kept referring to football as soccer,” Tobi said. “I had to let him know that football in Africa is not the American type.”

            Mom laughed. “Well, I hope you were nice about it. Cultural differences can be very confusing.”

            Tobi frowned. “Mrs. Dada asked me to show him around during the break. I almost missed getting picked for a football team because of it. He thought everything was strange – even our desks. I hope I don’t get stuck with him tomorrow.”

            “That doesn’t sound like you,” Mom said, raising an eyebrow. “You usually like meeting new people. Is there something about this kid that bothers you?”

            Tobi shrugged. “He’s just so different. I don’t understand how he could have a Nigerian name like Sola, but not know anything about his home country.”

            “Tobi,” Mom said gently. “Have you forgotten when you took that summer exchange class in England?”
            “No..o” Tobi said hesitantly.

            “Remember how bad you felt because some people said you talked funny? Or how everything seemed so confusing?”

            “That was different!” Tobi protested. “I was a foreigner over there, and not everyone was nice about it.”

            “It’s no different than how you feel about Sola,” Mom said quietly. “Even though he’s a Nigerian native, he’s still like a foreigner here because he’s lived abroad all his life. When the Israelites moved into the promised land, God told them to be kind to the foreigners that lived among them because they had been foreigners in Egypt, and ought to know what that felt like. God loves foreigners, and he takes care of them. As God’s children, we should do the same.”

            Tobi hung his head. “You’re right, Mom. I was treating Sola like the Israelites were treated in Egypt. I hope Mrs. Dada pairs us up again tomorrow. I have a lot to show him.”

             Reference Text: Deuteronomy 10:17-19