Friday, June 24, 2005

Never wear your gym socks twice, even if you "didn't sweat much" yesterday

God, I just had to take my socks off and throw them to other side of the room. Yeesh.

But anyways.

My week this week has involved the gloriousness of all glories: I have been supervising my employer's booth at the East African Construction Exhibition. As if exhibiting chainlink and burglar proofing grilles wasn't exciting enough, i actually added 'nail polish chipping' as an activity to my day, in order to up my mental stimulation levels. A LAUGH A MINUTE people, a laugh a minute.

Its funny how you can become exhausted by boredom. But the boredom has made me more interested in pushing for interesting conversations outside the bounds of construction-material-exhibiting. I accidentally had a pretty interesting conversation with my driver, Medy, on the way home from work the other day.* I had asked him where is family lived and how many brothers and sisters he had. Turns out, his mother and his two remaining sister and one brother live a couple miles away from him, but that he has 'about' 14 siblings in total because his dad had three wives. (His father passed away about fifteen years ago.) Apparently the whole family lived together on one compound in the village until dad died. (Some multiple-wife families i've encountered have the wives and their children all living separately. I think that generally happens when the first wife didn't anticipate the addition of the subsequent wives, and there is tension as a result. Or it could be an entirely other reason, I don't know.) So, you have the dad, the three wives, and the fourteen kids. The kids all played together, and it was fun. The wives each had a three-day shift in the kitchen. So for three days Medy's mom would cook, then another wife would cook for three days, etc. And during the days it was your turn to cook, it was also your turn to sleep with the husband, because those three days you were serving him. Serving him dinner, and serving him in bed, i guess. I thought the orderliness of that setup was pretty interesting, actually. According to Medy, he's pretty sure that jealousy wasn't really an issue, but who knows? Its probably hard to perceive these kinds of things when you're a kid. Also, i'm guessing that Medy's mom probably wasn't the first wife, because he probably would have mentioned it otherwise. First wives tend to have more status and are (i think) more jealous of the second and third wives; while the second/third wives are generally just more gratefull to have a husband. These are all just assumptions i've gleaned from informal chats, talk radio, etc. So i could be misenterpreting. It's really easy to do.

Also, Medy confirmed something about twins that I had heard from a man who was from a tribe from the north of uganda. (In other words, this is probably at least an east-africa wide practice, not just a specifically tribal one.) Apparently, when twins are born, they are given very specific names, which i will be getting Medy to write down for me tomorrow. When a boy twin is born first vs second, he gets one name or another, and when a girl twin is born she is also given a certain name based on her birth order. The parent's names change too. So when's Medy's younger twin brother and sister were born, his parents names changed. Apparently having twins is a big provider of status for the father, and so acquiring that new name is a big source of pride. ("Ah, look at my manly seed! Making two babies not just one!) So i'll be posting tomorrow what myself and michael's and our parents' names would have been had we been born in Uganda!

*Yes, I have a driver. He takes me to and from work and lunch and the gym, and to miscellaneous work-related appointments. I was supposed to be given a company car, but what with my inability-to-commandeer-a-vehicle thing, i have a driver instead. I really like him - he'd been me and several of my friends regular cab driver for the last year. But now he basically just works for me. He totally could be doing extra-curricular cab driving outside the hours i've 'reserved' him, but i think he's enjoying not having to desperately chase clients in order to feed/clothe himself now.

(In other yes-I-have-a maid issues, Nelly, our 'housegirl', keeps breaking stuff and misplacing stuff and ruining PERFECTLY GOOD $90 shirts. But she has five kids and her husband is kind of a good-for-nuthin, and so our conciensces won't let us fire her, but HOLY CRAP she is driving us freaking INSANE.) <>

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