Saturday, May 18, 2013

Language Laughs and Waste Woes

My husband and I have been studying Fante, the tribal language in our area of Ghana. Our teacher comes three times a week for two hours each time. Fante is a very literal language. The word for please loosely translated means, “I beg you,” but when it is literally translated, it means, “Something good for my hat.”

The other day, we were reading from a Fante storybook. Joe and I got tickled while reading a section about recycling. It was talking about recycling paper. It was mentioning different uses for recycled paper. We found out the Fante word for toilet paper; everyone usually just calls it “t-roll.” But, the Fante word for toilet paper is “egyanan nkrataa,” which when literally translated means “father’s leg papers.” 

Our children are also learning Fante. They learned the alphabet and are still working on the reading part. They pick up the spoken Fante much quicker than we do. We recently found a more detailed dictionary. It also includes some idioms. Joe was looking through the dictionary and ran across the idiom, “Ɔama mframa bɔn,” meaning “He has blown a bad wind; he has flatulated.” That was the wrong phrase to say in the presence of the children. Danny asked what it meant. When Joe told him that it meant, “He tooted,”  Danny did a deep belly laugh as he repeated the Fante saying. Can you guess what we have been hearing a lot lately??

In the book that we were reading, their idea of recycling was also rather humorous. They considered using newspaper as toilet paper to be recycling. They also said that giving your clothes to a younger sibling was recycling. Or, using a plastic bottle again for another item was also considered recycling. That puts a whole new spin on the word “recycle.”  

They have not figured out how to recycle their trash yet. In some areas, there are large dumpsters that are emptied after they have overflowed for a while. When the dumpsters are emptied, the contents are usually shoveled out onto the ground and burned. The things that would not burn are placed back in the dumpster. When the dumpster is full of things that would not burn, then it is finally taken to a landfill. In the areas where there are no dumpsters, the trash is just burned. In the residential sections of the bigger towns, they now have a trash service in which the trash is picked up on a weekly basis.  We live too far out of town for that service.

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If you have a funny story that you would like to share with us, please e-mail it to me at Please include the name of each family member, your field of service, and a picture of your family if possible.

Until next week, keep your sunny side up!

1 comment:

ginger said...

The culture is different, but the hearts of the people are still the same. They need to trust in Jesus to go to heaven. Thank you, for taking the gospel there for all of us. Praying!