Saturday, March 1, 2008

Lunch and Language

I first wrote this Observation On Life in December, but dammit, it makes me giggle still, so I thought I'd share... with a small Add-on!

So. I am in Accra and my friend Kwaku* just took me out for lunch. At a 'chop spot'. I.e. a small shack with those garden screen things for walls and woven beach mats for a roof. And plastic chairs.

And I had rice and veg stew. Which was fine. And he had fufu. Fufu is plantain and cassava boiled and then pounded so you get a lump of what looks like raw pastry but its altogether more sticky and blander. And a bit gritty. And that sits in a bowl of soup (well sauce or gravy I guess) with (on this occasion) lumps of various bits of goat. And you get a bowl of water with it with which to Wash your hands. And then you launch in. pick bits of the fufu off with fingers. Or knuckles in this case. Face close to bowl so you don't get it all down your shirt. And you also get a bottle of washing up liquid to mop yourself up with after wards.

I asked him if they had anything special for Christmas, and he said, no, just usual food. And I got the giggles thinking of my family in England sat around our Christmas dinner table with crackers and the like tucking into a bowl of fufu and goat. And couldn’t stop giggling. Especially with the likes of 'While Shepherds watched...' playing over the stereo as we ate.

*So Wednesday born. Only he's not. He’s named after his uncle. My driver's called Duku which means eleventh born. But he's not. He’s named after his father. Who is eleventh born. Oh and ever wondered what happened if you have two babies born on the same day of the week? Don’t worry, you just add an 'again'. 'Obaa'**. So if your first and second girls are both born on Thursdays, never fear, the first is Yaa, the second Obaa Yaa. So simple. Why didn’t we think of that?

** Only this week (Feb 08), we saw a tro-tro with 'Obaa Pa' on the back of it (that's another story entirely) and I asked the very same driver what that meant and he said 'very beautiful lady'. Now I know 'pa' is 'very', or 'lots', so 'Obaa' must be lady. Who knows? This little Story highlights the Challenges one faces in Communication...

I think I need Twi lessons.

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