Filed Under (Beninese culture, General, Malian culture) by Rob on 12-05-2010

Now, this might not mean anything to folk from other climes, but for those of us who have lived in this part of the world, the term ‘WAWA’ is quite common (and, incidentally, probably not a great name for a hotel).

Let me explain:

* When, for example, the electricity board rips out your meter because it claims your bill should be higher than the reading says: W.A.W.A.!

* Or when the plumbers come to mend the feed pipe to the toilet, but cannot find the stop cock, so turn on every tap in your house in order to reduce the pressure enough to do the job (thereby flooding your bathroom to 4″ deep!) W.A.W.A.!

* Or if I go to the post office to pick up a parcel and they refuse to give it to me – why? Because it’s addressed to me and my wife, and she didn’t come! W.A.W.A.!

* Or when you drive your Land Rover through a HUGE puddle in the road, only to discover there’s an open drain hidden beneath the water and two of your wheels are plunged into it before you can say W.A.W.A.!

So, are you dying to know the significance of this catchy little word? Well, it stands for:


and comes in very useful in frustrating situations. Click here and here for a couple of other bloggers’ take on the phrase.

Now, I don’t want to be too negative about the place; West Africa has many charms and great people. Hearty handshakes, tasty food, fun roads to drive on, great costumes, plenty of sunshine, wonderful languages and warm smiles are just some of the positive aspects of life here.

If you want a more neutral acronym to use on such occasions, then I’d recommend ‘T.I.A.’, meaning ‘This Is Africa’, and, consequently, ANYTHING can happen (and invariably does).

Hey, take a closer look at that photo again – there’s a Big Momma greeting us from behind the sign:

And the thing is, I only noticed her when editing the photo for this blog post! Looks like she had the last laugh, then!

After all, THIS IS AFRICA!

1 Comment posted on "This made me laugh…"
Hilary on May 19th, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

When you buy distilled water for your solar system batteries and the water turns out to have battery acid in it – WAWA!