12/8/09

lost in translation

It amazed me in Africa that the language barrier was not as thick a wall as I imagined. So much can be said with a smile and a greeting. So much more than I at first thought.

But there are some things that don't come through clearly. We were in the American embassy's recreation center in Ouagadougou when I saw a sign for a "Flag Big" and "Flag Small." I was excited, seeing as how I was looking for a Burkina Faso flag to buy. I told Alfred (Alain's brother and the manager of the facility) that I was excited and wanted to buy two big flags. He was happy to oblige, and sat us all down in the lounge in front of the TV and turned on the sports channel while he went to the back for the flags. Here's what he came back with.



We laughed really hard, and I think Alfred was a little embarrassed when he took them back to the icebox, but I will never forget the day I asked for a flag and got a beer instead.

A bit of advice: when in Burkina, ask for a "drapeau" not a "Flag."