19 August 2007
I will miss going to the tailors shop. The noise of the sewing machines, the chat in Hausa and laughing, the shouting of various women who come in and find their clothes unfinished, the bargaining and beating of prices down, the smile of Alhaji with a blade between his lips, the smell of the burning iron, the loud easy listening music blaring and accompanying singing and sitting down dancing of all the tailors, the colourful piles of cloth piled up high and the excitement of getting a new outfit designed and made especially for me.
I am going to have to try to get used to being on time now that I will very soon be back in a land where time stops for no-one. I have got used to being late for meetings – my record so far is 3 hours. Telling friends that I’ll see them around 4pm, which in reality means anytime before 5pm, waiting for someone for “just 10 minutes” and next realising that it’s been about an hour, asking how long a journey will take and the time underestimated by a few hours, rolling up for functions about 2 hours late and being early, slowing down, not wearing a watch, eating when I am hungry and sleeping when I am tired… I much prefer this attitude towards time, so I am warning you, it may take a while to adjust, give me some slack to start with!!
I thought it might be worth noting a few language differences that I’ve got used to saying, please print and refer to when engaging in a conversation with me.
“I’m coming,” said when walking away but knowing that eventually you will come back.
“Sorry” when someone is sick, trips while walking, has had bad news, sneezes, or has any minor/major accident that is not at all related to you.
“Is there light?”
“ They’ve taken light.”
“On the light”
“Off the light”
“Well done” – can be said when you pass someone doing some work (farming, sweeping, reading, cooking, writing, sitting at desk) Can be said for doing nothing in particular, more like “well done for being you” can be said when you think that the person did a good job at anything. Very sincere and not at all sarcastic, sarcasm does not really exist here. Could be interpreted from our culture as being very patronising but not taken in that way.
“sannu” hello or filler in word
“wahallah” – trouble
no wahallah or ba wahallah – no trouble
“yauwa” – difficult to find a similar word, it is said after someone has greeting you, or as a kind of “you’ve got it”, very expressionistic and sounds good!
“How’s your body?” said when you are sick or getting better.
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21 August 2007
Goodness! A lot the remember. Look forward to seeing you soon! xx
22 August 2007
these memories show it's a big change for you coming back to the UK after 2.5 years!! Thinking of you x
23 August 2007
You'll enjoy the hot showers and constant 'NEPA' though! Can't wait to see you babe and catch up. Call me!
Love ya xxxx
24 August 2007
So evocative...interesting that the Igbirras of Okene used to use the same expressions, as did the Hausas and Yorubas.
Later, in Zarai, I had to recommend my ATC/NSTC students before they left for another anglophone country, tat they didn't use the "Sorry" expression, lest they be accused of something they hadn't done.
I'd get home for breakfast, on foot, at 9am, to be greeted by Isa's "Well done, sah" as if the 300 yard walk were a marathon.
Don't forget Ba lafia, ba kome, sai gobe, next tomorrow. It took me ages to get my son to say "Sai gobe"..he kept saying Gobe plain and simple.
Welcome home, Well done, Mada!!
28 August 2007
so looking forward to catching up with you but will miss the installments to your life out there... sounds like youare in for a big culture shock.. x
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