Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kenyan superstitions

The woman who serves us coffee at work is called Esther. She's a tall, broad-shouldered woman who is always smiling and insisting I have just one more cup. She's been sniffling lately, with some kind of flu. Then the other day she told me her auntie - not aunt, but auntie - had died. Turns out, the two are linked.

One day, I found her reading her aunt's obituary in the paper, while sniffling. "You still have that cold?" I asked her. "It's because of my auntie," she said. "When you are sick, it means something bad is going to happen to your family." She says African/Muslim tradition says that when someone in your family feels pain, you too will feel pain. Everytime you get a headache, it means something bad is coming.

But get this. Anytime you accidentally shatter glass - you drop a glass for ex - you are diffusing some bad thing. So instead of being angry that you broke something, you should be grateful that this has happened instead of something worse.

Everytime I walk my this construction on my street, I wonder if the scafolding made of wood will just collapse... But I never get a headache, so I guess these workers are safe!

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