Actually, she calls several other women "mama."
There's Mama Nounou. Mama Youyou. Mama Sada. Mamicho. Mama Vero.
But, most of all, there's Mama Vida.
Despite the fact that we live in Kinshasa - Mama Vida is not Congolese. She is from Ghana.
While we live in the largest officially francophone city in the world (that's right, Paris), Mama Vida's first language is Twi, her second (or possibly, third, maybe fourth), is English...with French and Lingala coming much later after her move to the DRCongo.
So. She soothes my child in British-inflected English ("Sorry, Sorry, Sorry..."), commands her in French ("Doucement!" Touche pas à ça!"), and teaches her to call to us in Lingala ("Yaka, Mama! Yaka!"). Mama Nounou sings in Lingala and French all day. Mama Youyou speaks beautiful, flawless French to my child and Sarah's.
|Mama Vida & LouLou|
I, on the other hand, bustle around speaking terrible French to my children. Hoping to somehow add to the enrichment. Lou corrects me. Elias tolerates me. They all laugh at me behind my back...
Ours is a multilingual household. A hodgepodge. A crazy great mess of words.
Thanks to all the mamas.