#30 Eating with their Hands
One surefire way to blend in is to adopt the eating habits of the local population. EAWs excel at pretending to be comfortable with and adept at things in which they have no experience. Thus, it is important, as an EAW, to act as though eating with your hands is completely natural to you. If invited to lunch or dinner at the home of a local colleague, the EAW will politely decline any offers of spoon or fork, insisting that they are comfortable eating with their hands, while fistfuls of fufu or ugali splatter onto their host’s dining room table.
At weekend expat brunches, a sure fire way for the EAW working for the grass-roots, locally-driven NGO to set himself apart from the UN office drones is to eschew cutlery, expertly using his right hand to rip off pieces of Aunt Jemima instant mix pancakes as though it were injera, and swiping it across his syrupy plate.
The novice aid worker will be tested when, upon sitting down to lunch with her local colleagues for the first time, she observes them washing their hands by holding their right hand under the tap and letting the cool water flow over it. Should she make an announcement about the merits of soap and risk mockery? Or dig in, non-plussed? In an attempt to fit in, she will likely choose the latter. Later on that night, after she has visited the toilet eleven times, she will listen intently as her colleague sagely assesses her situation, “Yes, “ she will nod solemnly “ I’m sure my stomach will be much better once I adjust to this heat.”