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Going A Long Long Ways to Find A Surprising Song Coming At Me

"A dugout, Marie", I said. "A dugout, not a canoe. A canoe is a whole 'nother level of culture."

A dugout is a log with part of the log removed.

A photo of a few dugouts - all much smaller than the one this story is about.

These were about the size of the one that I was ferried across the Niger River on when visiting a friend in the Peace Corps in Niger in 1977.

I saw some other dugouts - some larger - the first time we went down by the river we saw a large dugout approaching from the distance. Paddles were flashing in the late day sun as they paddled in near perfect unison. I know how hard it is to get a bunch of people in a boat working together because I was on crew in college for a season.

Anyway they got closer and we could see that they were singing as the paddled. There was enough wind that we couldn't hear the words and I didn't expect to be able to understand the words when they came by us - because I don't speak or understand any of the languages native to Africa.

But as they approached something strange happened. I COULD UNDERSTAND THE WORDS, in fact I knew all the words and the music. You may ask, "How?"

OK - I will assume that you asked.

Down in their dugout they had a boombox and it was blasting out a Beach Boys song.

The name of the song? Help Me Rhonda

The link below might change -- youtube does that frequently.

Why shouldn't the whole world paddle to the Beach Boys?

American culture has gone too far - way too far!

This story took place in 1977 a short distance northwest of Niamey, Niger along the banks of the Niger River.