A conversation at bedtime

Cheikh: I think we should embalm Pape more often. He likes it.
Me: I think you mean ‘swaddle’ him, not ’embalm’ him.
Cheikh: Are you sure?
Me: You’re thinking of the French verb emballer, to wrap up. Embalm is like Egyptian mummies.
Cheikh: Oh yeah…

A conversation with our taxi driver friend, Basse

Cheikh: So your friend has a big moving van I can rent this weekend?
Basse: Yeah, I’ll give you his phone number.
Cheikh: Is it a set price or should I bargain?
Basse: Cheikh, this is Senegal. There’s no such thing as a set price.

A conversation at the fruit stand

Vendor: That’s 4100 cfa.
Me: Here’s a 5,000cfa bill.

Vendor hands me a 1,000 cfa bill.

Me: I don’t have a 100 coin. I can give it to you next time.
Vendor: That’s okay – don’t worry about it. Give it to the baby.

Hear that Pape? Your college fund just got 20 cents heavier.

A conversation with our house-helper after I gave her baby stuff we were getting rid of

Elisa: What are these?
Me: You use these bulbs to clean out the baby’s nose when they’re congested.
Elisa: What about this thing?
Me: Well, um, I don’t know the word in French or Wolof. It goes in the crib to keep the baby from sticking their hands or legs through the bars.

(At this point I felt kind of silly because they don’t use cribs. But then it got worse.)

Elisa: These?
Me: Umm… Those are window screens you can suction to a car window to shade the baby.
Elisa: And this?

(Okay, I really should have looked over this stuff before giving it to her!)

Me: Uhh… you know how in supermarkets they have rolling carts? This quilted thing goes in the seat part to protect the baby.

Bless her for not rolling her eyes at the crazy toubabs and all the things their babies ‘need’.