The Kinky Green


Benjamin doesn’t know how good he has it

Posted in Peace Corps Adventures by Joy on March 10, 2013
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My host family’s cat doesn’t have a name, & no one touches it. The first day here, I asked ‘what do you call this one,’ & they told me chonah (cat), which I have taken to calling it. When I talk to or pet Chonah, my family is amused. They don’t abuse him, & he gets fed every day, usually some leftover rice or nsima. In Zambia, he is well loved.
Cats are here to keep the rats, mice, & snakes at bay. Dogs are merely guards. Explaining cats & dogs in America are part of the family wasn’t easy.

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5 Responses to 'Benjamin doesn’t know how good he has it'

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  1. Very interesting, Joy. How do they feel about naming animals? Bet they find it funny.

  2. rich said,

    Interesting–especially in view of the country’s colonial heritage.

  3. Laura DiSciullo said,

    I think some American cats would prefer being Zambian cats: getting fed but otherwise left alone!

  4. Holly said,

    So moral of the story: you should have brought Benjamin with you to protect you from pests.

  5. Joy said,

    They name the dogs (lots of Scoobys in Suse), but less so the cats, I think. But animals & children just get called Iwe (you!) about 99% of the time. As in, “Iwe! Iwe! stop chasing that chicken/eating that/going there/doing that. Bad manners!” Zambians crack me up.


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