sometime this weekend, i was telling Mu'aath how this one old Pa there in Ukpwa always asks about my children ("pu'kwa jam?"). i reply "they no dey [i don't have any] Pa, but yes, jam." so i ask Mu'aath what's up with that? what am i supposed to say?
he tells me that i should just say "jam" [good or in peace]... to keep things moving. not to rock the boat, if you will. and as we're discussing this he looks at me and says "Muhammad, it no bi reality now." hu-'uh! it be na weti if it no bi reality? i guess it was both funny and a little shocking.
it was certainly insightful... that the superficial character to the shibboleth of local greetings isn't just perceived by me. jam bandu? jam. jam nusumri? jam. usako. m'aathala. usako. m'aathala. yaowaa... [a series of greetings and replies in the local Fulani dialect].