Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Conversations In A Car In Mozambique, Africa

My dad just got home from visiting missionaries in Mozambique, Africa. For any of you Hardingites, the Donelson Church of Christ sponsors Alan and Rachel Howell. My dad really enjoyed his trip, and says that they're doing a great job down there.

I wanted to recount an experience that my dad had. They were all piled in a car, driving to another town. My dad was in the back seat, in between two Africans, who were constantly chattering in their language.

A lot of people are paranoid when they can't understand what other people are saying. Having learned a small amount of Spanish, I've learned that we need not worry about what they're saying most of the time. In fact, it's a bit arrogant to always assume that people are "talking about me". Nonetheless, when you can't understand any of what is being said right beside you, it can be a little uncomfortable; especially if they start laughing.

Stereotypically, I think we like to imagine people from other cultures talking about noble things. In movies, Chinese men are always droning out about their "honor" or ancestors. Indians are always recounting creation stories about origins of bears, birds, or men. So my dad was obviously wondering what these men could be talking about in the car with foreigners from the United States.

After the two guys beside my dad had talked for a while, Alan spoke up and said, "Would you like to know what these guys are saying?" Dad said, "Sure." Alan recounted what they had been talking about, and their conversation went something like this:

Man 1: This ride is taking a while.

Man 2: Yeah I know!

Man 1: I'm sure glad we didn't bring Kimbe along. He's getting old, and he always needs to stop and pee.

Man 2: I know! He does! Every time we take him anywhere, he always has to stop and pee at least once every hour. It's so annoying!

Man 1: Yeah. It's a good thing we didn't bring him.

Man 2: Yeah. (pauses) Um... now that you mention it, I really need to stop and pee.

Man 1: Actually, so do I!

Man 2: What are we going to do? We can't stop here.

Man 1: I don't know! But I really need to go.

Man 2: Maybe we can stop at the edge of town and I can pee beside the bus stop.

Man 1: You might could, but if you do and an authority sees you, he'll fine you $12.

Man 2: $12! I can't afford that! What am I going to do? I've got to pee!

Man 1: Maybe there will be a business with a public restroom.

Man 2: I don't know of any! What are we going to do? I can't hold it much longer.

Man 1: Let's just try to hold it for now, and we'll figure out what to do when we get there.

Man 2: I'll try, but I don't know if I can!

I don't know if anyone will find that amusing besides me, but I enjoyed it.

1 comment:

  1. How about that. I knew the Howells, Alan more so than Rachel, as he was in TNT with a lot of my friends.

    I work with 2 people from Honduras. They're always chatting away in Spanish. I know a teeny tiny bit of Spanish from my years in school, but I can't keep up with them. I do get very paranoid when they're laughing & I'm the only other one around! I have a feeling I'm the one who's gonna bust out laughing the next time they're chatting away, probably about having to pee. :)