Thanks to my pal, KW Jeter, who now lives in Ecuador, I learned about the existence of that country's own Bigfoot monster, "Wawa Grande."
Wawa Grande, which takes its name from the Quechuan word for baby and the Spanish word for big, reportedly stands upright on two legs and has thick, light gray or reddish hair. The Wawa legend dates back at least 200 years in Ecuador's southern Andes but several reported sightings since the 1980s sparked international interest.
Of course, a monster whose name translates as "Big Baby" instantly assumes less fearsome dimensions.
Wait a minute--my spam filters are all set up to protect against "Nigerian pen pals!" Not to vilify a whole country just on account of a few million citizens who are scammers, but I don't think Nigeria would be my first choice when seeking global camaraderie.
Anthropologist Holly Wardlow did extensive fieldwork among the Huli people of Papua New Guinea. She offers this account of a curious way that Huli women get the upper hand (so to speak) in marital disputes:
many women when falsely accused [of adultery by their husbands] will lop off their index or pinky fingers at the first or second joint. This practice is quite common: of the fifty women with whom I conducted life history interviews, ten of them had one or two finger joints missing. Indeed this practice by Huli women is so pervasive that children say they make a point of hiding all knives and axes whenever their parents argue, not only to prevent them from injuring each other, but to prevent their mothers from lopping off their fingers. Like suicide, finger-lopping is motivated by anger and indignation, but it is highly performative as well; for example, one is supposed to maintain enough presence of mind to hurl the finger at one's accuser and yell something like, "keba biba haro, inaga ki bi pugu ngerogoni" (In order to cut off/finish my anger, I'm cutting off my finger and giving it to you.)
Eating guga is an experience that can produce a lump in the throat, tears in the eyes. Tears of nostalgia, to those for whom it is part of a cultural identity - for others, simply a response to the urge to regurgitate.
The guga is a fishy-tasting seabird, highly prized in its own area for its unique taste. Yet to others living a mere 20 miles away, it is incredible that something so foul can even be taken into the mouth, let alone enjoyed.
The guga, however, is unique to the Isle of Lewis. When exiles meet in far-flung places, the talk soon turns to guga and memories of sharing this . . . delicacy. As the ache of nostalgia creeps in, soon they long to plunge knife and fork into this plump seabird, a 3lb baby gannet. And so it is that barrels of guga, salted down in the summer, wend their way across the world to destinations as far away as New Zealand to bring a taste of home (the sweaty, fishy, oily taste of the scuppers of a fishing smack).