{Post by the Husband} Not in Lusaka Any More

September 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

{We’ve been off the blogging grid for a bit – it’s getting CRAZEEEE (side note: I refuse to say cray-cray. Refuse.) up in here with grad school, finalizing the adoption, and moving internationally. Ben was traveling last week so we were on our own. Look for another update from the Zambian Menenbergs soon!}

I recently returned from a trip to Sierra Leone – on this trip, I visited WV’s National Office in Freetown.  After living in Zambia for a year, I have become used to the Zambian culture.  Thus, I was amused to note several differences between the people of Zambia and Sierra Leone:

1) Greetings – In Zambia, you are expected to greet each person in a room individually when you enter the room.  In Sierra Leone, this courtesy is not expected.  I came to work one morning and was greeting one of our Finance staff members, and the Finance Director asked me if my office was locked.  I told her that it wasn’t but rather I was greeting someone – she said, “oh?” and appeared quite surprised!

2) Voice volume in conversations – In Sierra Leone, people frequently raise their voice in conversation, especially if they sense you might be interrupting them.  In Zambia, you must wait for the other person to finish talking – otherwise you are considered quite rude!  And in Zambia, raising one’s voice is almost never acceptable.

3) Answering mobile phones – In Zambia, it is perfectly permissible (and even expected) that people will answer phones at any time – during meals, in meetings, etc.  However, I have learned that in Sierra Leone it is considered rude to answer the phone while in a meeting!   This is a curious contrast to the previous observation as while Sierre Leoneons are loud, they will generally not interrupt a conversation for a phone call.

I enjoyed seeing the ocean, eating seafood, and getting to visit another part of Africa. However, there is nothing like coming home to my wife and boy!


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