Friday, August 03, 2007

A Liberian moment

I've had several Liberian moments that I (Debbie) want to share with you in this and future posts. They have been moments that made me laugh and think how much I enjoy getting to live here (sometimes).
In order to understand this one, you have to know that in Liberia, this is called a lemon.
In America, we call it a tangerine or maybe a mandarin orange.
And a lemon is called a lime because the limes that we have here are key limes and they start out green and turn yellow when they get ripe. So all the sour fruits, whether they are green or yellow, whether they are the regular citrus lemons or limes, are called limes.
So here is the story: one of our favorite powdered drink mixes (like Kool-aid) here is the "lemon" (not tangerine) flavor of Foster and Clark's. Best powdered lemonade I've ever had. But since about June, it hasn't been available (a normal phenomenon here - things come and go and come again later). So everywhere I go in town, if I see someone selling Foster and Clark's drink mixes, I ask if they have lemon. Last week, I was in my car waiting for someone and a guy with a pushcart loaded with drink mixes walked by (Melanie Goodnow once said, if you can't find something in the store, don't worry, sooner or later someone will walk by selling it). So I asked him, "do you have lemon?" Now the package for what I call lemon says LEMON (just like that in all caps) right on it. But what does he pull out? "MANDARIN" - tangerine - and that's what it says right on the package. But the picture shows..... a lemon, as he sees it. I laughed - sure, I know that is what YOU call a lemon, but I want the one that SAYS lemon on the envelope. Oh, he says, you mean you want lime, the sour one. Yes, I know it's sour like a lime, but it SAYS lemon! Yes, but, you're in Liberia and that's how we call it, no matter what the package says. "Mandarin" is lemon, and "Lemon" is lime.
And this is all in English! I'm sure that translating all that into a different language would really be a recipe for confusion! But it was good for a laugh last week - and I had a good one. Hope you've had at least a little chuckle over this too. More later.....

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