I've never had so many nicknames in all of my life . . . just walking down the hallway of the hospital I can pass seven different people who all call me something other than 'Déborah'.
The latest of which has been Amatta.
When some of the guys I work with first started calling me this, I tried to hunt down the meaning. 'Young woman' I was told . . . which even though most people here consider me too old to be single, since I'm not married I'm still just a 'young' woman.
But I've started to notice that no one is calling the other single girls I work with Amatta . . . in fact, the only time I hear it being used is when someone is trying to get the attention of a young girl . . . young like 12 or 13 . . . not 30.
So this evening, I was sitting out in front of the hospital having tea with a friend who does admissions in the ER after the OutPatient Department is closed, when two young girl walked past us, and someone called to them 'amatta!' So I turned to my friend and the other nurse sitting with us and asked 'What does amatta mean?'
'Little girl' they said.
'WHAT?!?!?' I started to laugh. They looked at me funny.
'Okay, so it's more like a girl who is around the age of puberty, rather than a little girl.'
I laughed again. 'Then why do they call me Amatta??'
Now it was their turn to laugh. They tried to backstep and say that it's really any young female that is unmarried and the guys are just 'teasing' me . . . but it was too late. I know well that fine line between 'teasing' and 'making fun of'.