ñaata la

ñaata la: how much is it (how much does it cost?)

In Wolof, counting money is very confusing. To speak in money, you have to use the unit dërem. However,

1 dërem ≠ 1 CFA

Rather,

1 dërem = 5 CFA

This makes for some rather complicated thinking, as it requires translating the numbers into Wolof and then multiplying by five.

At the post office, Will and I try to buy stamps. After impressing—or to say more accurately, amusing—the post office workers with our Wolof, we ask, Ñaata la?

Temeer fukki dërem.

The post office workers watch us as Will and I mouth the words silently, clearly thinking it over. We whisper to each other—Temeer means one hundred, right? So multiply by five…five hundred? No…wait…

Finally we reach a consensus. I lean towards the window. Temeer fukki dërem…is that… 550 CFA?

The woman nods, looking vaguely amused. But when Will and I shout Yes! and loudly high-five with triumph, all the postal workers cannot help but laugh!

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