After celebrating the end of 2016 in true-to-ourselves fashion by going to bed early, I got up yesterday morning and went for my usual run.

As I passed our friend who lives (literally) on the street, he waved me over so I stopped to say hi.  We exchanged greetings, Happy New Year wishes, I asked why there was a dead sheep in the road, he said he didn’t know…

50cfa, about 10 cents

As I got ready to take off, he reached out and placed a 50cfa coin in my hand and asked me to take it up the street to the peul up the road. (Or at least that’s what I thought he said, seeing as he is missing quite a few teeth. A peul is a person from the Fulbe ethnic group.)

We both know a blind man who begs by the  nearby mosque who is peul, so I happily tucked the coin into the pocket of my shorts and stared running with a huge smile on my face, having seen my 2017 launch with the kindness of one man in a hard place sharing what he has with another.

However the blind man was not sitting on his corner yet, so on my way home I stopped to give the coin back to the giver. He was super confused so I tried to explain that the man wasn’t there yet. “What man?” he asked. Um, our blind friend.

He just laughed. And laughed.

Apparently he did not mean for me to give the 50cfa coin to our peul buddy. He meant for me to buy him 50cfa worth of tobacco (póon) to roll his morning cigarette. He then tried to send me to the buutik to buy him some, but I declined and we said goodbye.

So yes. My Wolof is still bad. But laughing about it was a good way to kick off 2017.