Jody and Sarah Fox - this phase of our Journey as IMB missionaries in Niger, West Africa

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adjusting to Life in a Village (Part 5)

The Comical Times of Village Life
Written by: Jody

Since I am having trouble thinking of one specific time that was very funny, I have decided to share with you 2 times that I thought were humorous.   A few months ago I dug a small plot for a garden I was wanting to plant.  The ground there is obviously lacking in resources so in order to help the ground I would water the spot each day and work it with a tool.  A volunteer who was here told me I should also put some animal poop in it and that this was great fertilizer.  So the first time I went out I walked around the cow market area and picked up goat and sheep poop with a shovel to fertilize my garden.  The second time however, I did not want to go, so I asked two young boys to go and get it for me.  I was planning on paying them for it.  I handed them the shovel and a bucket and off they went.  A few minutes later I looked over my wall to see how they were doing and to my surprise they walked from pile of poop to pile of poop picking up all they could with their bare hands.  They were just holding the shovel and using their bare hands.  When I handed them the shovel they must have thought I was nuts, “what’s he giving us this for?” But instead of being rude or leaving it behind they just carried it along with them picking up poop with one hand and holding the shovel with the other hand.

This next story took place while we lived in the capital city, but I thought it was funny enough to include here.  I had made an African friend who I talked with on most days.  One day when I showed up to talk with him, I noticed he had a bird and a cage in which to keep the bird.  I asked him why he had a bird and he proceeded to tell me that because he had a white friend that he must learn how to take care of a bird.   I then asked him if I was that white friend and he responded with “Yes”.  Apparently, some of the other missionaries and other Americans in Niger have had or do have a bird.  So he and many others just assume that all Americans like to own birds.  So I told him that I did not own a bird and he responded to me that maybe someday you will.  I then told him, “probably not”, in which he responded “are you sure?”  I answered with a “Yes”. 

When I told Sarah about the situation she said, Awww, that’s cute in a creepy sort of way.  The funny part was that he did not buy the bird in a store or get it from somebody else, he just one morning got to work and caught it with his bare hands.  Seriously, have you ever seen anybody catch a bird before with his bare hands? That’s crazy.  He told me it was in the morning when the bird was tired and could not fly well, but still that’s amazing.  And in order to get the bird back and forth from his house to work each day he would take the bird out of the cage put him in his backpack and drive to work on his motorcycle.   That poor bird spent weeks being ushered back and forth in a backpack. 

The culture is obviously much different here, which gives you many different experiences.  You have to try to enjoy the funny differences that the culture gives you.  

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