The Africa House?
Regular readers will notice I derive a lot of amusement from thinking up interesting names for things around me. Toubab the puppy, Jaifonday the cat, Kermit the Landrover.
I previously mentioned “Monkey Business” as my travel business name, but two things have been brought to my attention. First that I need to think about google placement – there’s already a Monkey Business. I need something original, easy to remember and appropriate enough so that random people interested in a Senegalese adventure will find it. Secondly, Monkey business was historically a racist comment – things like that can get on my nerves, as clearly I wasn’t meaning to be offensive and the term came from an elderly Senegalese man who kept telling me to look out for monkey business. But I don’t want to put anyone off and I have to think google these days, so I’ll keep pondering.
I’m also trying to come up with good names for our new property, as well as places within it. Again, I need to think about google as the internet will be my main marketing tool. I’d previously thought about “the Africa House” after a book I read about an eccentric Englishman who built a mansion in Zambia a hundred years or so ago. I envisage our house being an African art project, where we continue add bits in traditional African styles, as well as house my growing collection of African art, wood carvings, fabrics, books, cd’s, musical instruments and so on. I expect “the Africa House” will appear on about page 73 of the google listings, so again, I need to put my thinking cap on.
If anyone has any bright ideas, there is a comments section below (where I do have some regular commentors, but I’d love more and even to get some conversations going…).
As for places within the land, The Jolly Diola bar has been decided upon. Other ideas are the Snake Pit (a jungle cave where we saw a python) and the Attaya Lounge.
I drew a rough map of the property below (click on this to see an enlarged version), which shows the layout and some of my ideas.
Inspired by this post, written by fellow West Africa blogger Phil, who runs inspirational camel drawing courses and a restaurant in Abijan, Ivory Coast, I’ve thought about the various names I’ve been called around the world. I’m sure I’ve been called other names, but I like to keep this a family friendly site.
Simon was popular around my birth due to Simon & Garfunkel. I always think I had a lucky escape in not being named Garfunkel. Other names my parents considered were Timothy and Miranda, neither of which suit me (in my opinion).
I had numerous nicknames at school: Fenny, Benny, Bent brain (I had a miniscule scar on my forehead), fungus features (no idea why), and Godfrey (?!). My friends Anwar and Jennie, who are seemingly incapable of calling anyone by their real name, renamed me Bob. Their kids know me as Uncle Bob. Bob is their Uncle. So, when I needed to come up with usernames for different websites, I became BobMali.
My brother calls me Tony. If there is a reason for this, I’m not sure what it is and I suspect neither is he. When I first arrived in Brighton in 1990, for no rational reason I said my name was Jude. There are still people who shout “Hey Jude” at me there.
When I worked for a year in Australia I was Eric the Viking, probably due to my shoulder length sun bleached hair – I looked more Australian than Jason Donovan (another schoolboy nickname) and many didn’t believe I was British.
In Vietnam, the young ladies at Tam Diep post office (I visited there weekly to make phone calls and send faxes – this was pre me having an email or mobile phone) renamed me Anh Minh. Anh means older brother and Minh (as in Ho Chi Minh) means “Bright”. My staff, some of whom were older than me, called me Ong (pronounced Om) Simon. Ong means grandfather and is a sign of great respect. As a 27 year old this seemed fairly comical to me though. Whilst wandering around local villages, people would cry “Dong Chi” (Comrade).
Often, here in Senegal, people shout out “Karesibou” or “No to do” which are diola and wolof for “what’s your name?” I often reply “Lamin”, a local name, which receives huge guffaws. Bass, my good friend, has started calling me Momodou, a variation on Mohammed, but Khady wishes my African name to be Alphasene, her fathers name.
Some people simply call me Si. In the diola language, Si means vampire, so that has caused merriment and worry in equal measures.