Should I screech my bike to a halt and step towards the side to the road, so as to terrify the children while retaining the excuse of “oh, I was just going to go talk to them!”
Should I replace the word “chindeli” with the more amicable sounding “boss”? After all, it’s widely used and recognizable to their ears.
Although, that would simply be replacing one racial moniker for a more privileged one, wouldn’t it? Because “boss” did historically refer to white colonists, leaving black Zambians with the subservient “boy.”
Do I continue trying to teach “what is your name,” a phrase that grated my nerves in Chipembi, as an alternative to “chindeli, how are you?!”
Are the two really that different? Is it simply the frequency that makes me grit my teeth and mutter “these fuuuuucking bra- little blessings”?
Do I turn a cold shoulder and hope they understand my waspish passive aggression?
Or do I simply turn, plaster a (hopefully minimally) annoyed smile on my face, and wave as if to say “yes, it is I: chindeli. Behold my magnificent sunburn!”