There are a few things you don't do in Zambia. One of these is to cross your legs at the house of your inlaws or elders. You also make a small bow when you leave.
I spent four days trying to be ladylike, gently resting my leg atop the other in my host's house and was preparing to be extra polite while visiting another when my new friend, Comfort, gave me "the nudge" and eyed my leg. I immediately took it down as Wana Kasoma entered.
When she left to bring plates of food, I asked what faux pas id been committing for nearly a week. After eating the staple of nshima -- maize flour and water boiled and stirred into a Playdough texture and formed into fist-sized cakes, and cassava leaves, Comfort caught my eye at the car as Wana came to bid farewell. She made the smallest curtsy and clasped her hands together. Ok. I got this.
I bowed ever so slightly as Wana smiled at me and said I was most welcome. I laughed as I walked away, surviving another cultural faux pas.
They are ever gracious and give this mzungu kind leeway.
Surviving such cultural ungraces is a lot easier if you accept you're going to make mistakes and accept them with some humorous indignity.
At least this time I didn't mistake the shower outhouse for the toilet outhouse and pee in someone's bathing area this time. Now we wont mention that again.
... in Solwezi, Zambia