Friday, May 27, 2011

The Store

Hey! How ya doin? Just swinging by with a little story from daily life here . . .

I (Mary) sent someone to the store this week to buy a case of flour (12 1kg pkts), a small pkt of salt (250mg) and 4kg of beans. He called from the store, which by the way is not called “the store” here. “The Store” is actually your storage place—like a garden shed or garage—an appropriate name for the place you store things. Here, “the store” as in a grocery store, is called a “shop”. So, back to the store-y :) . . . he called from “the shop” to say that I had not sent enough money to get a case of flour and the other items. So, I revised the order to 2 1kg pkts of flour, 1 pkt of salt and 4kg beans.

Let me just say one word and those of you who have lived in foreign countries for a good amount of time will laugh----- C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-I-O-N. Where does the breakdown occur??? In what I said? Yes. In what he heard? Yes. In what a person in this culture normally buys in salt content that I know NOTHING of??? Yes, apparently.

He returned home and gave me the change while I was teaching in the banda with the kids. We went on with what we were doing. He left. Two hours later we took a break and I went into the kitchen and saw on the counter SEVEN 500mg packets of salt, 6 1kg pkts of flour, and the beans! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH 3 1/2 kg of salt????????? I started laughing! Someone nearby giggled and said, “well, at least it’s not expensive!!” She’s right, of course, but that is not the point. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean I need to buy it!! I didn’t even try to talk to the person who ran the errand that day for fear I would bust out laughing. Yesterday I finally asked why he bought 7 pkts. He replied that in his little village when you give the shopkeeper 2,000 shillings they give you 4 pkts of salt, but in the village he shopped in for me he was surprised that 2,000 shillings gets you 7 pkts. The whole time he was talking I'm sure I had a surprised look on my face--just for different reasons than his! (At this point I decided it might be worth remembering that perhaps salt is commonly bought in 2,000 shilling increments.) I had said nothing about buying 2,000 shillings worth, only that I wanted 1 pkt. Without realizing it, he immediately translated in his mind from 1 pkt to 1 group of pkts worth 2,000 shillings. You’re all probably bored at this point, but I find it fascinating that I have lived here for 5 years next week and I still have so little clue sometimes as to what constitutes normal daily life around here!

As we come up on our 5 year anniversary on June 5th we are looking back as well as looking forward. We have learned so much and changed so much, but we still have so far to go!!!! Obviously!!!!!

We took a short trip to Entebbee last week and found ourselves at the same guest house as fellow New Hope missionaries, The Zimmerman's. Now that was a FUN surprise!!!

P.S. Anybody need any salt???

1 comment:

Amy said...

That's a ton of salt!! Send it to me for next winter's road and sidewalk needs, haha!