chapter
Introduction
Pages 10

Every morning after I had gotten up and brushed my teeth, I would grab my towel and the little box that contained my soap, shampoo, hair brush and other articles we WestEuropeans think to be absolutely necessary for having a bath and walked through the village to the path that leads to a fresh water grotto, about a ten-minute walk into the bush southeast of Tauwema. Although everyone could infer from the things I carried where I was going, and although all the villagers knew after some time that this was part of my morning routine, people always asked me in the village or on the path to the grotto Ambe? – “Where?” – implying “Where are you going to?” At first I reacted with a smile and answered with the name of the grotto: Bugei. However, after some weeks – having made some progress in my language acquisition, I responded somewhat impatiently by either waving with my towel to the people who asked this (for me then rather silly) question or by simply answering O, kunukwali, bala Bugei makala yumyam – “Oh, you know, I will go (to the) Bugei like every day”. After having responded to this question in this way for a few days, Weyei – my neighbor and one of my best informants and friends – approached me and told me that I should always answer this question as exactly as possible. Thus, after some further progress in learning the language I could react to the question Ambe? in the appropriate Trobriand way, answering for example: Bala bakakaya baka’ita basisu bapaisewa – “I will go, I will have a bath, I will return, I will stay (in the village), I will work”.