‘That’s my teddy! That’s my teddy!!!’ The girl is excited. Until just a minute ago, she was sitting quietly and a little bit bored in the family living room, watching the main East German evening news with her parents, before switching over to Tagesschau on Western TV. But now, she is jumping up and pointing at the screen.
They are watching the news on their small black and white television set that always needed a little while to warm up. Colour TVs are rare and hideously expensive. Anyway, there’s no need. When you watch a movie, your brain adds the colour.
But today, the girl really could have done with a little bit of colour. Although the teddy on the screen looks exactly like the blue plastic toy that she gave away a couple of weeks ago, she cannot be sure that it is hers and it would help to know if the teddy on the screen was blue. That teddy is part of a big parcel that is being lifted out of a boat. A few seconds later, she sees the teddy being handed to a young child.
So that was real! The toys they collected at school for children in Nicaragua really were sent there! She feels a sense of shame and sadness pull at her heart. Why didn’t she choose something nicer? That horrible old teddy. She had chosen it because, quite frankly, she didn’t like it that much. Although it had movable arms and legs, it was stiff and couldn’t be cuddled. You couldn’t take it to sleep with you, as it hurt when you rested your head against it. If she had really, truly believed that the toys were going to actual kids, and if she had just spent a few more minutes thinking about it, then she would have chosen something much nicer. But then again, what? All the toys that she played with meant something to her. She could not see herself giving them away. Oh, this was hard. How much easier was it to donate money from collecting wastepaper, as her class had done for children in Vietnam a couple of years earlier! They had made a beautiful butterfly in art class and the children had all got excited when the butterfly was sent off. Did it ever get there, she now wondered?