17 July 2006

The Neighborhood Watch is reminded not to beat people when making arrests; the UNHCR is reminded that water is a basic necessity

Last Wednesday, the first statement was heard over the camp public address system. Last Thursday, the Camp was graced by officials from UNHCR and the Liberian Interior Minister, for which the Neighborhood Watch was all dressed up for. The second statement came from a camp resident at that meeting. What I'm getting to here is that sometimes things on camp are just a little whacky.

First there's the handshake. Clasp hands, fold, shake, and snap on release. It's not both people snapping individually, it's using both hands to collectively make a snapping noise. This is a complicated routine that may well get the best of me.

Language wise, there are a few differences. Aside from not being at all conversant in any of the local/tribal languages, there are a few turns of phrase that can be confusing at first.

"How de body?" Sometimes used in place of how are you, but with similar meaning.
"Small small" Basically, a little bit of something or a short period of time. Examples: "We've come to talk to you small small." "Are you feeling better? Small small."

These are perhaps the most common phrases I hear. Aside from that, people seem to have difficulty pronouncing my name. Oh well. Time for mobilization.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

jason - please send me the answers to security questions so i can get in for your online banking - thanks!