Mune ke ta?
That is my favorite question here (what’s up?) mostly because I know the answer (hanifen-nothing). Other favorite line: Ami, I be sirring. Ha mbe sirring. Ami, you are sitting, Yes, I am sitting.
The following is a collection of random anecdotes that have been happening over the past few weeks.
JENGA: My parents sent Jenga in a package and I showed it to my host family. Ever since, they have wanted to play EVERY night. I imagine this is how my cousins felt when I always wanted to play capture the flag… It’s a trade off though: Every time we play, I ask my new family member Binta (staying for Ramadan) to braid my hair. I think she’s getting tired of it… but you better believe me that every time we play Jenga, I will have my hair braided. I also will not be introducing Jenga to my permanent host family right away.
Bike Riding News: Kudos, Mom & Dad for teaching us to ride bikes, because it’s hard! Binta wanted me to teach her, and after our first brief lesson today, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to. On a separate occasion, I noted that cows are scary to bike through, even though they are quite possibly the calmest animals out there.
Other news in animal Hazards: I was sitting calmly one evening with my host family when a chicken landed on my back and immediately flew away. At this point I feel that it must sound like I’m living on a crazy farm, not in Africa.
On Being Different: While here, I’ve tried to spend free time doing things that make me happy: Biking to the internet, going on runs, eating my M&Ms, which, FYI, do make it safe & sound in care packages, and playing with children. There is one two year old in my host family who at first let me hold her anytime, even though she showed no emotion whatsoever. One day I even got her to laugh, which was the best! However, out of nowhere, she has begun being terrified of me, much like small children fear Santa at the mall. Since then, her fear has been off and on, I’ve even gotten to hold her once, but mostly she runs away. Her reaction breaks my heart every time, but I am starting to get used to it. I guess I shouldn’t have put so much hope in a two year old that has never seen a white person before. I feel your pain, Santa.
Life in the Kitchen: Tonight (8/6) I offered to help peel ‘naambo,’ an unidentified potato-like vegetable with a mighty thick skin. My host mother found my first few failed attempts quite hilarious. Mind you, we were cutting in the dark with no cutting board, just knife, veggie and air. She then decided she would give me the almost peeled parts, and I would finish them, meanwhile she had done two more. Eventually, I graduated to doing some of them completely solo. Proud of myself? You better believe it.
Dinner: By now, I eat most dinners with my host family but out of my own bowl. However, sometimes I hide in my house so that I can eat with my left hand. Culture note: toilet paper is not used, people wash themselves instead, with only the left hand. Therefore, it is taboo to eat left-handed. Unfortunate to be a lefty at meal-time.