A Series Of Short Stories: The Computer Conundrum and Cultural Chatter

“Madame Ally there is a problem here with this computer”
I had been using the computer to show some of my Congolese colleagues where I lived and worked in the UK. Google street view is like a dream. They loved it. Lots of “woah” and “ahhh” it’s a bit like fireworks night to be honest! But then a patient called me over and so I left the computer for a few minutes. When I came back google street view had crashed.  This sometimes happens here as we have so many people using a such a small amount of data.
“Madame Ally you can fix it, you are the best one here to fix this problem”
Cultural note:  as I am married without children the Congolese call me Madame Ally. Typically after getting married the equivalent respectful title of our Mrs would be Mamma, however as I don’t have children I default to Madame Ally. Just in case you were wondering.
After a few minutes we were back online.
“Ahhh Madame Ally you are computer expert, you have fix the computer”
I replied ” Oh I’m really no expert. I didn’t even do anything”
“But Madame Ally of course you are an expert because you are sleeping with the computer specialist on the ship”
With my confused face I giggled and asked why that would help.
“Because Madame Ally it is in your blood” as I thoughtfully imagined tiny little computers floating around my vascular system I confirmed…
“So because I, in your words ‘sleep with the computer specialist’ that automatically makes me a computer specialist?”
“But of course”
“We believe that when two people are married they are one, they share each other’s knowledge through the blood. They share everything!”
I pondered for a while: “So may I ask you a question, would you trust my husband if he was the nurse looking after you? Even though he has no training in nursing?”
” Sure, I would trust him”
” would you let the surgeons wife operate on you?”
“Yes, it’s in her blood”
” umm interesting”
He seemed to be confused when I said that I wouldn’t let the surgeons wife operate on me. She’s a clever lady but she’s no surgeon and she’s definitely not coming at me with a scalpel. After debating this for some time we came to the conclusion that we would agree to disagree and I decided I love that we think differently and that my whole congolese team of colleagues automatically think I’m a computer expert and that Ally is also a nurse …. double qualifications!

One thought on “A Series Of Short Stories: The Computer Conundrum and Cultural Chatter

  1. Madame Ally, I love it!! Great insight into another’s cultural understanding. Thanks for sharing it. X

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