Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas (Where's My Present!?)

Just a funny sidestory -- Papa B, our “friend” the official here, came by to wish us a Merry Christmas.

He was so impressed with Adam’s Congolese suit, and wanted to know who had tailored it! I said to him (in French) “Oh, yes, I got this for Adam as a Christmas present” and he immediately responded “Did you have one made for me too?”

Let me state clearly that this wasn’t really a “cheap” gift -- especially not in Congolese standards. It cost me $16 to get the fabric, since everything that comes here must come from SO far away, and $12 to have it made because the tailor a) did it quickly and b) did a bunch of fancy embroidering on the shirt.

I’m not about to spend $30 on some official, even if he is our friend!

So I just laughed it off, and he went back out on the patio with Polycarpe.

A fishwoman came by to sell fish, and Papa B called Adam out to the patio. “We don’t need fish,” said Adam, “we have goat!” (with French coaching from me in the living room)

“Not for YOU,” said Papa B, “buy it for ME!”

Huh! Merry Christmas! The fish was 2000FC (~$4) and I didn’t see much way of getting out of the situation diplomatically. I said to Papa B that it would impolite for me to give him MORE money than I gave to our own, good workers, so I offered to pay for HALF the fish, and he said that was fine.

Polycarpe seemed very put out! On all days, he said, Papa B has to come ask for handouts on Christmas!

No comments: