Looking Back, I Think My Tanzanian Pen Pal Was Actually Just My Mom

“The three things I like the most are playing the quiet game, wearing helmets, and listening to CDs from start to finish on long car trips.”

pen_pal

Hi Zakayo,

My name is Evan. I am 9 years old. I like videogames, skateboarding and sleepovers!!!

In that order.

What do you like?

I don’t like vegetables, cleaning my room, and when my parents get angry.

Not always in that order. Depends what vegetables, how messy my room is, and what kind of angry my parents are (the worst is when they are NO VIDEOGAMES FOR A WEEK angry).

I put a picture in here that I drew of my video game. I did it because it was night and I had nothing to do because my parents got NO VIDEOGAMES FOR A WEEK angry.

Bye,

Evan


Hello Evan,

Thank you for your letter. Life is hard here in Tanzania, so I am grateful to have something that makes me happy like your letter.

It’s funny, you know I even liked the things you said you didn’t like. I would love to have vegetables to eat, a room to clean, and parents. But unfortunately I have none of that. It sounds like you have such a good life.

Thanks for your drawing! It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re not playing videogames, huh!? Though, I was disappointed that Crash Bandicoot’s face appeared to be smudged by tears.

It would be so wrong if you were crying and making a scene, since you have such a good life.

Love,

Zakayo


Hi Zakayo,

I’m sorry I ruined my drawing with tears. I’m going to think of you next time I’m about to get sad to see if it helps. Your life sounds hard but it makes me happy that you don’t have to eat vegetables.

You know sometimes having parents isn’t all that great anyway. An example is I want to deliver this letter myself into the mailbox but my mom won’t let me walk there and do it myself.

SHE NEVER TRUSTS ME.

Also you forgot to answer my question about what things you like.

Bye,

Evan


Hello Evan,

If I had to guess, I’d say your Mom doesn’t let you deliver the letter yourself because there are a lot of strange people in the world who’ll do bad things to kids if they get the chance. I’m sure she’s told you this before.

Oh dear, I can’t believe I forgot to answer your question. Please allow me to apologize for my mistake. The three things I like the most are playing the quiet game, wearing helmets, and listening to CDs from start to finish on long car trips.

Love,

Zakayo


Hi Zakayo,

GET THIS.

In my mom’s bedroom looking for Christmas presents from Santa (he’s not real, sorry if you didn’t already know) and I found a new letter from you but it seemed like you only half-finished it.

WHY WOULD SHE HIDE YOUR LETTERS FROM ME.

This is why you don’t want parents Zakayo. They always do weird mean stuff.

And in case you were wondering I did find some of my Christmas presents (they were okay but I want a PlayStation 2 and I don’t know what Cluedo is).

Bye,

Evan


Hello Evan,

I’m so sorry, it’s all my fault. I was so eager to send you a letter that I accidentally sent a half-finished one. Your Mom must have hidden it in an attempt to save you the disappointment of reading an unsatisfactory letter. She really does know what’s best for you.

Are you sure it’s okay you went into her bedroom? I imagine if she found out you did that she might get NO VIDEOGAMES FOR A WEEK angry, potentially even NO VIDEOGAMES FOR A MONTH angry.

Also Evan, I have heard Playstation 2’s are really, really expensive. And you know what? I actually prefer board games. I think because they’re not so antisocial.

Love,

Zakayo


Hi Zakayo,

IT HAPPENED AGAIN.

I had to look harder this time in a hidden drawer but I found another half-finished letter from you. It was weirder than the other one. In red pen at the top it said IDEAS and it was written on the back of an old Bank of America account statement. I’m surprised you’re with Bank of America. Plus in the same hidden drawer it was in I found a packet of strawberry-flavored balloons.

They know I love balloons and letters.

WHY DO THEY HIDE THESE THINGS FROM ME?

I will ask them about this LOTS. More than I ask them to change tracks on CDs in the car.

Bye,

Evan


Hello Evan,

I must make this quick.

Rebels have captured my village, which means this will have to be my last letter to you.

Unlike me, I think you will live a long, happy life (especially if you listen to your parents). I know you feel that some things they do are mean and weird, but I’m sure you’ll look back one day and realize it was all for the best.

I will be praying this letter reaches you.

Love forever,

Zakayo

P.S. No more questions about the balloons, okay?


Photo courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museum

Evan Williams writes for a TV show in Australia called The Roast News Update.