Saturday, January 28, 2006

Mr Bibi Malae

I’ve named our “bibi malae” (sheep) “Mr Bibi Malae”. I debated whether I should give him a more personal name but decided against it for my own sake: he could very well end up as dinner and much needed protein for “our family” and because I know they need to eat him more than he needs to live, I don’t want to grow too attached.

I talk to “Mr Bibi Malae” every morning when I leave for work and the other day he wanted to lick my hand. I saw this as progress in our blossoming relationship (or was it just that he wanted the salt from my ever-perspiring skin?) One day this week, one of the boy’s from “our family” saw me talking to “Mr Bibi Malae” and I was a little embarrassed (I’ve never seen a Timorese talk to an animal).

We sat down for a chat with “our family” last night after presenting them with a large packet of Arnott’s Family Favourite biscuits in honour of Australia/Invasion Day. (However, we chose not to go into the politics surrounding the day because the issues are too complicated for us to communicate in in a language we are still learning.) During the course of the evening “our family” told us they all knew that I was talking to “Mr Bibi Malae” (word travels fast in these parts) and they thought this hysterical, especially when I told them that “Mr Bibi Malae” was from Baucau and I knew this because he told me himself! (As much as I like to think of myself as “Ms Doolittle”, I knew “Mr Bibi Malae” was from Baucau because I asked the very same son who spied me talking to him and who reported my strange behaviour to “our family”.)

Alberto’s family gave the “bibi malae” to “our family” and he is the first of many gifts to come during his courtship with Argentina.

Category: Timor-Leste (East Timor)

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