Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mama's Boy

So my husband was working with one of our Hewa guys to teach him how to operate a lawn mower that is on loan to us from another tribe. This is a HUGE help since everyone was just cutting 600 meters of thick grass with machetes. 

Anyway, John Michael is trying to push it or crank it or something I have no idea what because I wasn't really paying attention. I was sitting on my porch steps talking to my co-worker about our latest round of illnesses and injuries when JM looked over at me and said, "I think he just called me a Mama's boy?"

"What did he say to you?"

"Well..he said, 'You can do it. You are a mzfi yainoma'.

So my husband asked our friend Ken, "What did you just call me?"

Ken answered in Melanesian Pidgin thinking that maybe John Michael just didn't understand because he was speaking in Hewa, "You know…wanpela man bilong Mama."

"That's what I thought, " was John Michael's response to this petite tribal man. 

"Yep, he totally just called me a Mama's Boy", he said as he looked over at me with a confused smirk.

I feel the need to mention here that Ken is short and very slender with the voice of an 8 year girl…and he just called my burly husband who towers over him a mama's boy. 

I told him that it probably had the opposite meaning here. Like you are big and strong because you drank a lot of milk from your mom*, so you should be able to do this thing that is really difficult. 

"Gross" was my husband's answer to me, and then he turned to clarify this meaning with Ken, who said, "yeah, yeah. That's right."

We all had a big laugh and then told Ken that we have the same phrase in English, but it is not a compliment. John Michael proceeded to tell him that in America it means you're a grown man who is still drinking milk from your mama. Ken was a little embarrassed and wondered if he offended John Michael, but after a lot of laughing and joking about it he realized that this was something that we got a huge kick out of. 

Just another day in the life of our family plopped in the middle of a world and culture that is pretty much the opposite of our own! 

*Disclaimer: My husband felt it extremely necessary that I make it clear that he was exclusively bottle fed and never drank milk from his mom. 


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