Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Conversations I have had

Sometimes I'll be chatting with a friend from the States about about a conversation I've had here in Angola, and the friend will stop me and say, "WHAT?!' These are just some of those conversations that, to me, have become normal, but outside of Angola are bizarre.

Scene: Me walking to my boss' house on a Saturday for a day of work. Passing by an empty lot where a lot of poor families live.
Street kids: Amiga! Amiga!
Me: Amigos! Amigos!
Kids look at each other, shocked that I spoke to them.
One kid: Give me 50 Kwanza, amiga! (US$0.75)
Me: No, sorry. Nothing on me.
Same kid: But amiga, I'm hungry!
Me: I'm hungry too!
Kid: But you're so much fatter than we are!

Scene: An Angolan friend and I, talking.
Me: You know there is a new Chinese restaurant in Benguela. We should go.
Friend: Yeah, but you have to be careful, because if you eat too much Chinese food you could end up like this! (Make politically-incorrect Chinese eyes using his hands.)

Scene: At a party where the song "We Are the World" is playing
Me: Wow, I can't believe everyone knows this song. Do they know the story behind it?
Angolan Friend: Yeah, they made it to stop the famine in Ethiopia.
Angolan Friend: We got really excited when this song came out, because we thought after saving Ethiopia they would come, stop the war and save us. They never came.
(Background: This friend was forced to join the army right out of high school and fought in the war.)

Scene: Me coming into work after a late night of working. My colleague, Ben, knocks on my door.
Ben: Princess! Good morning. Is everything alright?
Me: Oh, I'm a little tired, but okay.
Ben: I can tell tell. Even from far away.
Me: Yes, I have a lot of work.
Ben: Even from far away you look very bad.
Me: Uh, thanks.
Ben: Really, really bad!

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