Mar(k): Travel, Hiking, and "Doing Good"

musings on our life of travel and volunteering

well, no…. we’re not actually twins…..

with one comment

The Real Deal - TWINS!

In this traditional village, the names of the twins was written on the wall outside of their hut

A while ago, we told a story about a young woman who was serving us at our favorite “garden café”.  Augustina had gotten to know us over time, and knew we were “Mar and Mark”.  One day it was apparent that something was on her mind.  She tentatively came over, and began:

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Of course, Augustina”

(looking somewhat abashed), “are you two twins”?

(look of dumbfounded incredulity), “ummm… no.  We’re not twins”

“oh” , and off she toddled, with what?  A look of relief?  At our answer?  Or at having gotten her question off her chest?

Anyhow, we just knocked it off as another bizarre experience in Ghana.  However, recently the question she asked became much clearer to us.  We were at a friend’s farewell party, and a few of the locals were being introduced.  One fellow – let’s call him “Chris”, was introduced to us as, “this is Chris.  He is a twin”.

“oh, how interesting”, we observed, merely to be polite.

He smiled warmly.

“is your twin a brother or a sister?” we enquired graciously

“he is my brother”, he replied sagely.

“oh, and what is his name?” we asked innocently.

“also Chris”…. How strange, we thought.   And then it was explained to us:  in Ghana, when twins are of the same sex, they are actually given the same names!  And if the twins are male/female, then they are given nearly identical names:  Chris and Christina, Robert and Roberta, etc… you get the idea.

All of a sudden the penny dropped for us:  no wonder Augustina had such a worried look on her face!  She thought that Mar and Mark were twins!   All was becoming clear.

Hard to imagine, but we're not actually twins!

Anyhow, we thought it was amusing, so we wanted to share it with you.   Now that we are more enlightened, when we are introducing ourselves as Mar and Mark, we also make the point of saying “but we’re not twins”…. Which everyone seems to greet with great hilarity.  So it works for us!

On a slightly related matter of names, there is another interesting custom here.  When we were up in Jirapa visiting our friends Aaron and Noriko, we met one of the teachers that Aaron works with.  His name was also Mark.  And the Teacher Mark explained to Volunteer Mark, that when someone has the same name, you both say “Name” to each other!   This can happen at any time (randomly), so throughout the evening, Teacher Mark would occasionally yell out “Name!”, to which Volunteer Mark would (eventually, after being nudged by Mar’s pointy elbow) also yell out “Name!!”

So.  Another learning experience.  Life is never dull.


Written by Mar(k)

June 7, 2010 at 9:30 am

One Response

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  1. lol very funny… haven’t laughed so much for a while!


    June 7, 2010 at 12:42 pm

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