A year ago my dear friend Fatima told me she had a surprise for me...
Soon after that, I was at her house to pick her up for Bible study, and that's when "Britney Spears" (above) walked into the room.
Fatima has two teenage daughters. They named the cat.
This was the surprise. I thanked Fatima, brought Britney home, and promptly changed her name.
I called her "Chiguinha" (shi - geenya)
Chiguinha is a Mozambican dish made of a cooked leafy green (like kakana), cooked mandioca (manioc), coconut milk, crushed peanuts, tomatoes, onions, and chicken broth powder (it's the green food item on the right).
Chiguinha the cat (she seems to be comfortable in any position).
Her name is funny to most Mozambicans and maybe the only way I can compare it to a pet name in the U.S. might be like this:
"An African woman moves onto your block in America. She partakes in the local foods and culture of your area. One day someone gives her a dog for a pet. The African lady likes the sound of the word "lasagna" and she also likes the way the dish tastes. So she names her dog "Lasagna." She likes her little Lasagne and they become great pals. People on the block may or may not think she's strange."
I can't be sure, but perhaps this is what it would be like for the American woman who lives in Mozambique, likes Chiguinha (both the sound of the word and the food itself), receives a cat as a "surprise" one day, and names the cat Chiguinha. Mozambicans may or may not think she's strange, but they sure like to laugh when they hear the cat's tasty name :o)
Here is Chiguinha the food (with a side of rabbit leg) lovingly served to me by Papa Toma's wife when I was with the church group here in Cala, Inhambane.
Chiguinha the cat...doing what she does best.
And like the fictional African lady with Lasagna, after a year together, Chiguinha and I have also become great pals :)