vendredi 1 février 2008

King of Siam

There are many cultural differences between my native glory-land of America and my current dust-bowl country of Burkina Faso. Some of these never fail to confound me even though I have had 8 months to get used to them. Specifically, teacher-student customs. For example, when a teacher walks in a class all the students have to stand. Thats not all that weird. BUT, there is one custom that always makes me feel awkward. It is routine for students to bow to the teachers. In fact, all kids bow to teachers. Ok, when I say 'bow' i dont mean that they bend in half or curtsey or anything. They cross their arms high-up on their chest and then bend at the knees and say "Bonjour Madam!" I just dont really like being bowed to.

This in itself is pretty goofy but the best part is how the little children who live in my neighborhood bow to me. Je m'explique . . .

I'll be walking down the "road" past where my gaggle of children are always playing. They will immediately stop what they are doing when they see me - this happens a lot with people of all ages. Then, the kids all-out run towards me and throw themselves directly in my path blocking the road infront of me, and in slow-motion cross their arms over their chests, bow down really low and, with huge eyes and a look of bewilderment on their face cry, "Bonjoooour Madaaaaam!" Sometimes they call me monsieur . . . they dont really speak french. I mean . . . we are talking LITTLE kids. Like 4 or 5 years old. They line up behind in each other and bow to me like i'm the King of Siam or something.

1 commentaire:

Cypress Corners a dit…

Boo- you are totally bow worthy! You should start bowing back. It would be like "Namaste" in yoga- "The spirit in me greets the spirit in you". I miss you friend. -littlk