Friday, October 8, 2010

On Husbands

Since there were no public bites (disappointing!), here's the answer to September 24th's translation assignment.

Amuma jekar, buguma jekar!
I don't have a husband, I don't want a husband!

I've just returned from spending a week in Tchisse Masse, one of the project villages. During my stay, my conversations typically went like this:

Am nga jekar? (Do you have a husband?)
Amuma jekar. (I don't have a husband.)

This was usually followed by hopeful looks, either in jest or in earnest, indicating that the asker either wanted to marry me or to set me up with their son/brother/nephew/own husband.

Lutax? (Why?)

Amuma jekar, amuma problem yi! (I don't want a husband, I don't want problems!)
Jekar bi, problem bu berri! (A husband, lots of problems.)

Aram, am na jekar. Am na problem yi? (Catherine has a husband. Does she have problems?)
Jekar bu Canada, problem tutti. Jekar bu Senegal, problem bu berri! (Canadian husbands, small problems. Senegalese husbands, lots of problems!)

And, if I'm feeling particularly defiant, I throw in this line:
Soxlauma jekar! (I don't need a husband!)

I've passed week-long cultural immersions in both Senegalese project villages and I've jokingly taken a husband in both. In El Hadje Mayebe, I intend to marry Ebu, a teenager that is likely likely the son or nephew of one of my host mothers. (Family structure is large and complicated here, and it's always difficult to figure out how exactly people are related.) I only called Ebu my jekar a few times, but he blushed profusely each time I did. In Tchisse Masse, I promised to marry an older man that I called "suma jekar bu mag" (my husband that is old) and this was met with riotous laughter.

Buguma jekar legy, buguma jekar legity, waay buga naa jekar si kanam, si Canada.

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