Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Around the Web

I missed this post by one of my favorite authors,
Rachel Pieh Jones, I Don't Live in a One-Word World, when it first appeared.  It talks about the difficulties of giving simple answers to the most basic questions.

“The white lady is waiting for someone,” the doorman said. We had already spoken, shaken hands, asked after family members.

“But who could she be waiting for?” one of the cleaning ladies asked. She sat next to me, our elbows brushed. “Her skin is white but maybe her insides have become Issa.” Issa is the major Somali clan in Djibouti.

“I’m waiting for Hassan,” I said in Somali.

The cleaning woman gasped and grabbed my arm. “Praise God I called you white and notgalo!” she said. The word galo means infidel but is often used to refer to Caucasians.

“I’m not an infidel,” I said. “I have a religion and am very happy with it.”

“Are you a Muslim?”

This kind of conversation happens on a regular basis. If people learn that I have lived here ten years or eat rice with my fingers or dine on goat meat. If I wear a headscarf or turn down alcohol. If I say maasha Allah or Alhumdillalah while speaking Somali.

{read the rest here}

More Reading:
The Language of Sport
10 Things Flying Taught Me About Missions
Expatriate and the Post Office

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