Believe it or not, this is a typical occurrence, which usually ends with roars of laughter when I explain that I have no physiological means to feed their baby . . . which, as a woman of 30, just blows them out of the water . . . and then once they've all explained it to one another how on earth, for the moment, my wells could be dry, they laugh at my expense.
And today, there was laughter, as usual, but this time it was because I don't know how to properly carry a baby!
The Momma held out her baby boy and insisted I take him. She was happy to share one of her many with me, the MamanYara (mother of the children) without any of her her own.
'Oh, babu nono' (no breast milk) I said with a helpless shrug. She answered with a long string of Hausa that I didn't understand.
'Ba komi!' (no problem!) she said in the end, and reached around to her back, indicating where I was to carry him.
I laughed, 'Ama, akwai aiki yenzu. Ko akwai yaro, zan bakata tahiya haka!' (But, there is work now. If there is a boy, I will need walk like this!') and I bent over and mimed walking while lugging something heavy on my back.
|A momma carries crutches, a pee kettle, a pillow|
and her baby through the hospital halls.
She continued to insist.
That is, until, the woman next to her held her hands out like a basketball hoop in front of her and began explaining what I could only translate as 'No, those silly Western women don't have a clue how to properly carry a baby . . . they hold them out front! It's ridiculous, but that's what they do!'
All the women in the room stared at her as if she had lost her mind.
She assured them.
They gawked at me.
'Yup! It's true!' I confirmed. 'Mun yi haka' (We do like this) and I acted out how we carry babies.
For a moment they were too shocked to respond.
When the moment passed, they simultaneously erupted into laughter. Once again, at my expense.