Friday, October 26, 2007

Tea Conversations

Each evening I drink green tea with a couple of male neighbors who are unmarried in their 30's, men who worked in the cocoa and coffee fields of Cote D'Ivoire.

What do we talk about?

One asked, "Is it true that the US government pays you if you don't have a job?"

We discussed what is the minimum a family of 4 needs to live on if no emergencies arise? We calculated $120/month and that is still living pretty poorly.

Who makes the most money in the village? People who sell alcohol and gas. Women who sell fried fish and doughnuts to school kids make some money compared to other market women who sell dolo, the local millet beer, or who sell rice and sauce.

I rarely see men and women sitting talking to each other for long periods of time. How do husbands get to know their wives? I learned marriage is more of a functional union. Your same-sex friends are who you socialize with, get emotional support from, gossip with and have intellectual debates with.

And love?
The pains of the heart of rejected love yes, do keep those so inflicted tossing and turning throughout the night.

And dating?
When market day comes people see a variety of new faces, some they find interesting, having a passing conversation here and there. And if a serious interest is felt, the man will send a representative to the woman's family. Gotta makes sure there aren't any conflicts between the two families before pursuing marriage. Think Romeo and Juliet.

One asked if I had heard about the Californian fires. I only listen to the BBC when I feel lonely or a sleepless night seems long. It's been a weeks since I turned on the radio.

We discussed China. Is it the next super power? What will the US do? Will Taiwan be the spark of WW III?

Can we go to mars?

We argued about whether it is possible to lose bone mass and argued about why muscles get sore. We each have our own ideas based on info we have heard and read. Are my ideas more valid just coz I come from a developed country with internet? Or are both of our ideas false and are only true because we believe them to be?

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