Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Our eight-year-old found puppies again; this is at least the third time she's found puppies here in Dulce. She loves puppies, and we always stop to play with them, especially if they are at someone's house that we know.

This newest batch happen to be on a road we travel frequently, by foot and by bicycle. Today we were on our bikes. We stopped and she played with the two puppies who were left from the litter of five. The others have been sold or given away, I suppose. This always makes our wee one sad, but she enjoyed the two who are left.

As I waited for our daughter to play with the puppies, a car drove up and stopped. I figured it was someone we knew, so I turned and said hi. It wasn't. It was a mangani woman I'd never seen before. "Mangani" (maan-gah'-nee) is the Jicarilla word for "white person." I find myself identifying unknown white people that way here. It isn't an insult, it's just a descriptive word. My husband received a high compliment a couple of weeks ago; someone told him they "forgot he was mangani." It means we're a part of the community.

Anyway, this mangani woman opened her window and asked, "Are the puppies ready to be given away?" I told her that three of them had already been sold or given away, but they didn't belong to us. I started to tell her the name of the man to whom they belong, but I hesitated. 

You see, here, everyone has a nickname. Pretty much everyone. It took me a while to figure this out. I was very confused! I was trying to learn names and faces, and I thought I would get someone's name sorted out... and then someone else would call them something different from what I knew!

Anyway, I know this man by his nickname, but I don't really call him that at this point, and I sure don't have the right to share his nickname with someone else. So I told her his given name and she went on her way, planning to talk to him about the puppies.

And I got to thinking about this nickname thing among the Jicarilla. I now know enough people that I am aware when a nickname is used for many people. But I'm actually not so sure whether the common name most people are called is their nickname and the occasionally-used name is their given name... or if it's the other way 'round. Or maybe it varies from person-to-person or family-to-family.

I do know that I use the name that has been told to me when I refer or talk to a person. I'm thinking that someday I'll be familiar enough that I'll be able to use both names, but I need to know more of the "rules" before I do!
In His Hands
And then I started mulling how absolutely amazing it is that God knows my name; it is written on His hand. He knows every secret name I have... because I belong to Him.


No comments:

Post a Comment