A lesson in non-verbal communication…

Posted: September 24, 2007 in Blog

The scene: Outside work, heading to the gym. A boda-boda pulls up beside me.

The conversation:

Boda-boda driver: Raises his eyebrows while making eye contact with me.

Translation: “Would you care for a lift to your desired destination, sir?”

Chris: Raises eyebrows while making eye contact with boda-boda driver.

Translation: “That would be splendid.”

Chris, uttering the only words that would appear in this exchange: “Garden City”

Translation: “I am heading to Garden City. Let us now embark on a pleasant back-and-forth negotiation of this trip.”

Boda-boda driver: Raises three fingers

Translation: “I would be pleased to drive you there for a meager three thousand shillings.”

Chris: Raises his eyebrows in mock horror, and raises one finger.

Translation: “My good man, I know this trip costs only 1,000 shillings. I will have none of your shananagins.”

Boda-boda driver: Smiles

Translation: “Ahhh, you’re not a muzungu who I can take advantage of. Darn.”

Chris: Smiles

Translation: “No, no I am not.”

Boda-boda driver: Raises eyebrows

Translation: “Shall we begin our journey?”

Chris: Raises eyebrows

Translation: “Yes, let’s.”

Moral of the story: I’d have a killer six-pack if my abs got half the work-out my eyebrows do.

  1. Sarah Button says:

    Hi – I’m one of Roxanne’s fellow Rooftops interns, and I’m working in Cebu City, Philippines. I saw the link to your blog on her facebook site, and I clicked through, and couldn’t…stop….reading. Your posts are alternatively heartbreaking and hillarious, and I just wanted to let you know that I throughly enjoyed it. Great writing – thank you for sharing your stories.

  2. […] the posts on cross-cultural conversation one step further, blogger Chris Mason gives his readers a lesson in Ugandan non-verbal communication: Boda-boda [Ed.: motorcycle taxi] driver: Raises his eyebrows while making eye contact with […]

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