The past couple weeks I’ve been helping with a Nigerien missionary family while their mother is away... helping the three boys with their homework, making sure they have lunch and dinner, hanging out, whatever they need. Their dad is chief surgeon at the hospital so my logic is that if he goes hungry, then surgeries go bad, then everyone in Niger who needs surgeries dies…pressure’s on (side note: despite being chief surgeon and in a culture where men don’t hang out with their children, this man is an AMAZING father and husband and surgeon, holy SMOKES). Since the boys have been here a couple years and now speak English (their third language) fluently and attend Galmi day school, I sometimes forget that they are from Niger, until certain conversations pop up.
Me: Geez, I feel like a vending machine!!
N: What’s a vending machine?
Me: It’s a machine that gives you snacks and drinks automatically when you put money in it.
E: So where is the person that sells it?
Me: The vending machine sells the stuff and a person can get the money later.
N: So it’s so people stop stealing money.
Me: Sometimes the machine steals my money. But I shake it until the snack comes out.
N: So you feel like a vending machine because you think we’re going to shake you.
Me: No, because I am getting you things without you saying please or thank you.
N: People have vending machines so that you don’t have to be nice all the time.
Me: No, so you can get snacks more quickly if no is around.
E: So you have vending machines because people are lazy or because people are too hungry to wait?
By the end of the conversation (which took up most of lunch), I no longer know why we have vending machines, and I chose not to mention Redbox.
The main dish here is rice and some kind of sauce. But after two weeks of lots of rice and sauce for dinners, they weren’t sick of it, but I had gotten sick of watching them eat it, so I made cheeseburgers. I should also mention that you usually want to make meat last, so you put it in a spaghetti sauce or something…so even though I had made tiny flat golf ball size cheeseburgers, it came as a shock.
N: WHAT IS THIS?!?!
Me: It’s a cheeseburger, you’ve never had a cheeseburger?
D: One time in Senegal.
N: THIS IS SO MUCH MEAT!!!
Me: Do you guys want to put tomatoes on it? In the States, we put ketchup, mustard, and pickles on it.
E: EWWWW, ketchup, mustard, and pickles on your meat!!!
D: THIS IS SO MUCH MEAT!!!
Me: You put it on this bun and then the meat is in between.
D: I don’t want to, my mouth won’t fit around a bun and meat.
E: THIS IS SO MUCH MEAT!!
I can’t imagine what would happen if I showed them a Big Mac. We had rice and chili the next lunch.