Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Obama Administration is Already Thwarting Germ Transmission in Mali... and Injuring my Prostate

So every day that I am walking through the streets of Sinsina, it takes me maybe half an hour to get from one place to another only a block away - because in Mali, you have to greet every single person you walk past and have an extended conversation inquiring about the status of every individual member of their family. Since most men have multiple wives, and all women have many, many, many children, this takes a very long time. How are you? And your wife? And your other wife? And Bagary? And Bintu? And Adama? And Moussa? And Salif? And Umu? etc. etc. etc. If you walk past someone and don't have this conversation - even if you just had it with them 15 minutes ago - then people will think that you are extremely rude. And thus I have the same conversation maybe 100 times every day. Its endearing that the Bambara people are so sociable, and at times I wish Americans would care so much about their neighbors, but when you really have to go to the bathroom in a very explosive manner and there are a dozen women sitting in the street cooking millet between you and your designated bodily waste receptacle area who all want to know about each and every one of your 13 siblings, this institution of Malian culture is often very... inconvenient.

And also, while I am standing there in the musty road greeting people, every 20 paces or so I am mobbed by a crowd of children. And they all want to shake my hand. It wouldn't be so terrifying if kids' hands weren't as a rule absolutely filthy all the time. You see, the kids in my neighborhood really like playing with dirt, mud, dried cow pies and dead animals. This one kid was taking a whiz on the side of a wall, sees me, and comes over squealing with delight that he was going to have a chance to shake my hand. Ew. And if I didn't, then he would tell everyone in town how rude I was - so I had to think of a really crafty solution.

Hm... I eat food with my fingers. Little kids' pee on his fingers, transmitted to my fingers - Bad. What part of my hand never goes in my mouth... Um... My knuckles! Hey, I wonder how Barack Obama's speech in Denver went last night? Mmm... Barack Obama... THAT'S IT!!!!

So, I taught the little kids in Sinsina about Barack and Michelle Obama's "fist bump", otherwise known by FoxNews as a "terrorist fist jab". "This is how the new President of America shakes hands! He only touches other people's urine-free knuckles!"

So now all the kids know that if they want to shake hands with me, they have to punch my fist. The kids really seem to love it, because the Tubab is letting us punch him! This is ten times more fun than handshakes! It worked really well, until a mob of kids are punching my fist giddily and one 3-year-old girl 2 feet shorter than all of her peers joins in in. And she runs over and punches me right in the balls.

I did my best to explain in Bambara that Barack Obama doesn't punch people below the belt. Only Republicans do that.


Lili Snyder said...

so, what do you think of Palin? I mailed a long overdue letter last week, hopefully you'll get it soon!!

Ashley F. said...

so in real life the fist jab, aka the terrorist fist jab is really called a pound. or giving some dap.
let those little kids know the real deal.

Camila said...

aaaaaaahahahahahhhahahahaha crafty thinking, good work hahahaha

Tom M said...

good stuff. The speech was fantastic and the gallup has it at 49 Obama 43 Mccain, Hurricane Gustav has derailed the Republican National Convention and the news that Palin's 17 year old daughter is pregnant has both hurt her family values creds and strengthened her pro-life stance and subsequently satiated the stepford wives-conservatives desires for a strong feminine voice. The PUMA(Party Unity My Ass) wing seems to have lost its momentum and the majority of its supporters after Bill and Hillary's respected speeches. Things are looking good for democrats and the Biden pick certainly will help with Blue-Collar dems and Catholics(his scranton roots certainly help with Penn) The Palin pick certainly seems like pandering to woman who may be blinded by the mere presence of ovaries on the ticket, but I'm confidant that Clinton Dems wont jump shift for a lifetime member of the NRA, pro-life, ANWR hatin' former Pat Buchanan supporter from Alaska. Just three years ago Palin was mayor of a city of just 8,000. So basically she was mayor of katonah and then went on to be governor of a state that has something like 685,000 people(about 2/3 the population of Westchester)....But in other news I've really enjoyed your bloggings so far, keeping this journal will be invaluable years from now when you look back at this experience. Although you are off in a far corner of the globe digging ditches you are never far from my thoughts and I hope that all is well. Send me a message on facebook/email some time and good luck with the bugs!

p.s. The visual of gangs of bugs stealing carcuses from the floor in the middle of the night is very haunting. I like to pretend that the bugs are filming their own version of "The Gangs of New York" -Josh