Monday, February 11, 2008

One Is Enough

People still marvel at our use of Zarma in the street even though we're still have only a survival level of Zarma at best. It's just enough to get into trouble. We like to go out to the main road by our house where there are a number of street vendors selling everything from soup to nuts as my brother would say. The other day we went out to pick up some breakfast, little deep fried pancakes that are a penny a piece but heavy on the grease. Balkissa, one of the vendors greeted in us in Zarma and chatted. Meanwhile a crowd began to gather to watch her carry on with the white people, including a couple of ladies that were standing behind us whom I could overhear talking about the Anasara's ie. white people. Balkissa turned to me and nodded to the ladies behind Jennifer, and I thought she asked, “Do you understand what they're saying?” “Yes,” I said. She repeated this time point at them saying, “You understand them?” “A little bit,” I replied. At that point Jennifer suspected that something might be awry as some began to laugh. Upon further clarification I discovered what she really had asked was “Would you like to take one of these women as a wife?” (“Yes”) And then, “That one, you would like her for a wife?” (“A little bit...”) It was one of those days when I was glad I had Jennifer standing beside me. I quickly explained that I was quite content with the wife I had, and desired no more. “Oh but this is Niger,” she said, “you can have four wives here.” No, one is enough, and fortunately she helps keep me out of trouble.

1 comment:

Beth said...

I loved this post. The joys of language learning! :)