07 December 2011

A Kettle, a Pot, a Log, and a Crocodile

I've been back from dropping my mom at the airport since Sunday.  Today is Wednesday.  And still hospital employees say good morning by first asking how she is . . . if she arrived safely . . . and when I'm getting married.

Today it was a man who works in the outpatient chart room.


The three employees that pass their days in an oversized walk-in-closet asked me how old I was.  When I told them, they gasped.  The younger man shot back, 'You need to hurry up!'

The older man in the room laughed at him and said 'And who are you to say that?'  And continued to give him a hard time in Hausa about being 40 without a wife.

I chuckled.

'You know, we have a saying in English,' I started to say knowing I would have to explain it in the end . . . but it was only after I had started that I realized I only knew of one word I could use in my new Hausa context for which we have multiple synonyms in the US.

'The big pot says to the little pot,  hey, you're black.'

They stared at me.

I blinked at them.

'Uh . . . it means that one points out that the other is covered with charcoal from the fire, but doesn't recognize that he too is covered with soot.'

They stared at me some more, then gave me a courteous little nod.

I was surprised because my Nigerien friends are often speaking to me with Hausa proverbs that they translate into French.

I guess the African saying is true: A log can float in a river, but it will never be a crocodile.

12 comments:

Chcpe said...

Man the pressure is on...you better find a husband soon! The African saying is like the one Southerner's use about Northerner's moving to the South, and New Englander's (New Hampshireites) use about anyone from outside their region..."Just cause the cat crawls into the oven, it doesn't make muffins". The pot calling the kettle black...yea, explain that one in Hausa!

Shal said...

Ha! So true. How do your Nigerian friends respond to parables in Scripture?

Bobnrobn said...

Please extend my greetings to my new NigeriEn friends and tell them that the 'old lady' says the LORD will provide when HE is ready!  

Bethany Reamer said...

you are hilarious =)  i so enjoy your stories.  if i close my eyes just long enough, i can IMAGINE that you and me are at the medford starbucks laughing our heads off (and you're dumping your coffee all over the floor).  love you!

Deb. said...

But I would NEVER dump my coffee all over the place!!!! : ) Miss you!

Michael Chaney said...

Funny, as I read that I could imagine it too :)

EKIM025 said...

Deb, Your blog is a great way to keep yourself fresh and bathed in prayer. We here in the land of opportunity and every other thing possible are so easily distracted from the promises we make. Your blog keeps us on our toes, and on our knees. You have a way with words and can communicate exceptionally well! I hope you keep a file and a life long journal, for one day it may prove to be a real source of financial income for you or some ministry toy might be burdened to support. Your witty coms keep my smile on most of the time, and you are ever on our minds and our hearts as we can not forget you and what you are up to for the glory of the Lord. Thanks for your willingness to share, the the good and the bad, great joys and the heartaches that come your way. It enables us here to actually meet with you at the throne room of God and to be a real part of what you are doing in one of the few ways we can. It enable us to be participants in another of the great events going on world wide.
 

Ekim025 said...

THE BUSINESS OF LOOKING FOR MR RIGHT SHOULD NOT CONSUME YOUR THOUGHTS DEBB, THE LORD WILL BRING HIM TO YOU, AND TRUST ME YOU WILL KNOW WHEN HE ARRIVES ON THE SCENE. OH YOU WILL SURELY KNOW! I INTENDED TO SATE THIS IN THE EARLIER POST BUT DIDN'T AND THEN THOUGHT , YOU HAVE TO TELL HERE.

Deb. said...

:) Thanks! I try not to give it much thought, but when it's a daily topic of conversation with my African friends, it gets a little more air-time than I'd like! :)

Deb. said...

Hey! Watch it!

Heidi McCully said...

:) Got to love Niger... I miss it dearly. I spent some time around dunja in 08 (maradi).. Deb I love your stories! Thanks for sharing. Hope to be back someday.

Deb. said...

Thanks Heidi! And we hope you'll be able to come back someday too!