One of the insanely fun things to do here is talk to other missionaries about things you hear or conversations you have that would never occur in the United States. I wanted to take a few minutes to share some of my favorites with you and explain a couple of the really good ones. On a side note: you know it's a really good week when the meat market has cheese!
Here it goes!
1. Did he just get forced to buy a yam? (Martha)
2. How many people can you fit in a taxi? One more… (Courtney)
a. Explanation Numero Uno: It is not uncommon to be stuffed inside a taxi with three or four grown adults in the backseat of a tiny Toyota with another two or three passengers in the front seat with the driver. Sometimes, you even find the driver sitting on someone’s lap while driving a car stuffed with people, all their goods tied down in the back. I have also seen people riding on top of bags in the trunk…trunk open of course, and I once saw a full taxi with an entire soccer team standing/sitting in the back of the hatchback.
3. Have you killed your Christmas cow? No, but they just did on the steps of the church.
a. Queue in-depth theology debate now, and no, I don’t know the church’s denomination.
4. Why do we have traffic? Oh, they’re herding the cows to market.
5. I had to shield my eyes from the Juju this morning; so, sorry I’m a little late.
6. Is that a cow in the back of the taxi? Is it alive?!
7. Is he carrying a chainsaw on that bike?
8. How many people are on that bike?
9. I had malaria last week, but I’m better now.
a. Clarification: I take my prophylaxis every morning and have not had malaria. I had a student tell me this when I asked her why she was late returning her library book.
10. What’s the transport ticket to your village?
11. She has to chase monkeys from her farm.
12. Well, the back of a motorbike is one way to transport a coffin. I wonder if it’s occupied…
a. Yes, I actually said this to someone as we stood on the side of the road a little dumbfounded at the whole thing. There are so many questions. Why not a taxi? How is it tied down? How did they achieve balance? It just goes on and on. On a side note, I have also seen live animals, cabinets, chairs the size of recliners, sixty plus baskets, barrels (yes, plural), chainsaws, multiple market bags easily the size of grown adults, and so much more.
14. How’d they get that goat up there?
15. Are those mules? Well, at least they left the door open for them. How considerate.
a. They were in a sea container on the back of a truck. Enough said.
16. Well, apparently clothes are optional today
a. Explanation number three: It was an adult. Use your imagination if you’d like.
17. Toads? That’s a new one…Oh! They have ground rat!
a. Explanation number four: On any major road, you have to go through toll booths, and there are always dozens of people waiting, holding out their goods, and chasing cars to sell what they can. You can get anything really. I’ve had some amazing carrots, bananas, plantain chips… You can often get cold sweet drinks and I have even seen people selling alcohol. Think about that one for a second… On our way back from Kribi (a coastal city in the Southern Region), we saw a man selling toads. Two of them, and they were huge. Both of these toads were hanging out (literally hanging at the end of their ropes…pun fully intended). I have seen little deer like animals, snakes (and we’re talking vipers, adders and things of the constrictor variety), and lizards, but the most common meat sold at these stops is ground rat. Think New York sewer rats on steroids. There is the occasional garden-variety rat tossed into the mix. On the ride down, we were looking at the tiny antelope like things through the window when a new man rushed the car and Martha said something along the lines of “That one has hoov—hey! I don’t want to see your rat face!” Want me to gross you out even more? I’ve had a missionary friend tell me it’s some of her favorite meat. I’ll pass, thank you.
This is why a sense of humor and a thirst for adventure are necessities in the mission field. Anyway, it’s nine thirty, which means it’s missionary midnight! Off to bed I go!