In a piece for Worldhum.com, travel writer Katie Krueger describes going to a village market in Senegal and attempting to buy peanuts from an old woman who was selling them by the bagful. Krueger greeted the woman in the indigenous Wolof language, and tried to bargain for the best price, Senegal-style, by engaging the vendor in small talk. Krueger even told the woman her adopted Senegalese name, Kuuma N’dour, which identified her as one of the Sereer, one of the dozens of ethnic groups in the African nation.
“What a terrible name,” the woman responded. “You must be very stupid.”
Krueger asked the woman her name, and she responded, identifying herself as a member of the Joola, a tribe whose members are considered cousins of the Sereer.
“Joola?” Krueger replied. “You are selfish and love to eat rice, you pig.”
“I like rice? I don’t think so,” the vendor shot back. “You are my slave, and I know you spend all day eating peanuts.”
At that point, the vendor and everyone in the crowd began to laugh, as did a relieved Krueger. By local custom, she explains, the Joola and the Seerer are “joking cousins,” who greet each other by flinging insults. Ultimately, the woman not only sold her the peanuts for half price, but also invited her to dinner at her home.