Thursday, January 1, 2009

Oh, Mogom!

/-/ Village Flashback /-/ After we had been in the village for a week, the people decided to give me a local name – they called me ‘Mogom’. I was named after an ancestor who they said was tall and skinny like me. The name ‘Mogom’ doesn’t have any particular meaning other than that, it is not a word in their language, it is just a name.

I thought they might just call me Mogom for a few days until the novelty wore off, but I guess it’s not really a novelty to them, as they all have local names as well as ‘Christian’ names. (They are given their Christian names when they are baptised in the Lutheran Church).

More and more often they called me Mogom. Somehow I seemed to elicit a laugh and a happy sigh of ‘Oh, Mogom!’ rather frequently, even for no apparent reason! But it was said in a positive affectionate way and I liked it.

My new name became so commonly used that one day when Sara was talking with our ‘wasmama’, our wasmama couldn’t even think of my English name, Julie!!

One time when I met a new person, they asked me in the local language ‘Awa nanar unim?’ (What is your name?) and I replied ‘Inyar unim Mogom.’ (My name is Mogom). Normally I said ‘Julie’, but because they asked in the local language, I replied with my local name.

It was really special when in the last week our village sisters told me their local names. They don’t generally tell outsiders their local names until they have a relationship, so I knew that I had developed good relationships with them, and I felt accepted and happy about that.

Now that I am not in the village anymore, I don’t have anyone calling me Mogom everyday. When I come back to Australia, you are allowed to call me that as much as you like. I’d like it to catch on.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mogom, How was New Year's eve? Did you celebrate wildly or was it a more serene evening? Whatever hope it was great. Here it was rather cool, however it did not deter the firecrackers. Our 9 month puppy Morgan took it all in his stride and didn't even knock on the back door to come in.
Bev and John

wmparker@hotmail.com said...

Local names are so important. Not so english names.
In africa I once met a man who said his name was Joseph and lived in such and such a place. When I went there looking for Him, no one there Knew who I was talking about. One lady said that she would ask her husband if He knew Him.
Her Husband replied, "It is me!" His english name was so unimportant to Him outside of english/white cointacts, that not even His wife knew His english name.
So you are well on the way of being accepted if you not only have a local name, but that the locals actually use it.
Congratulations on a good Start.Keep on doing whatever it is that you are doing.

I have one other question though. To do with dogs and not names though. When are you going to get one of your own. I am somewhat surprised that you haven't been given a couple alrady.

Every blessing there,
Walter & Martha.