Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Musungu Meets the Chief

In route to Ngabwe Village, we stopped at the palace of the chief to pay our respect.  His palace consisted of a concrete home surrounded by several straw-roof round huts.  They were many customary steps that we had to follow in terms of asking the “body-guards” for the Chief, greeting the Chief (kneeling and clapping three times) and then giving him a gift – in our case a huge bag of cornmeal, which one bodyguard could barely lift, even though I had been throwing it up to the top of the Land Cruiser all week.   Hence the earlier quotation marks.  Maybe the Chief is hiring…

Later in Ngabwe village, we ran into a problem.  Our resupply truck did not show and we had no cornmeal to make food for the participants who showed up for the training.  I asked, “Can’t we go back to the chief and get our cornmeal back?”  A group of shocked faces looked at me and then everyone broke into fits of laughter as they realized I was joking.  For the next three days, barely an hour would pass when someone would bring up, “Ahh….musungu wants to get mealie –meal back from the Chief” and everyone would laugh and high-give.

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