Friday, August 6, 2010

Look Out! I'm Gonna Do Something Stupid!

The other day, Kathy was taking downtown a young couple that had come to Burkina to help us for a few months. Coming to an intersection with a red light, she slowed and stopped, prompting several young men selling phone cards, tissues, gum, and various other items to come towards her window in hopes that she might buy something. However, since she wasn’t interested, she put up both hands, palms out. We’ve learned that this is the most effective gesture for saying “No”. Shaking your head or holding up simply one hand does not work.

When the light turned green and she continued on her way, the young couple with her asked why she had put up her hands like that (give them credit for being more observant than many of our visitors!). This led to an explanation of the use of hand signals here in Burkina.

At this point, they came up behind a large truck travelling down the road. The truck had its right turn signal on, but the driver also had his left arm out the window, waving it wildly up and down. Kathy took advantage of the situation to explain: “For instance,” she said, pointing to the truck ahead of her, “this combination of signals means, ‘Look out! I’m going to do something stupid!”

Sure enough, the truck suddenly veered right, and almost immediately afterwards turned sharply left, right in front of Kathy, to do a U-turn in the middle of the road!

I guess you could say that she'd made her point!

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