This was my gift for buying a bunch of fruit and vegetables at the market. It's normal to get a little gift when you buy stuff at the market here in mmmBELLYmay Land. If they don't give you one, you ask for it, that's how market shopping works.
My first encounter with this veggie was in a stew in Mali. I was eating with a bunch of other Americans who all said "Evil eggplant!" when the bowl came out. I had never seen such a thing before, but they wouldn't tell me what was evil about it, just that it was evil. It was practically a dare. How can a vegetable be evil? So I tasted it. Bitter. Icky. Couldn't swallow it. Definitely evil.
Back to the gift thing. A friend of mine was in the capital where he bought months and months worth of supplies at the grocery store that caters to Americans and other such expats. Pricey place, but there are just some things that make it a lot easier to live here. I saw a box of Ritz crackers there for 9985 francs cfa once. Go here to do your math homework and be shocked with me that that's about $20. I did not need any Ritz crackers, but don't ask me about the lengths I'll go to to buy peanut butter.
So, my friend, after he gets the huge total at the register, looks at the cashier and says, "where's my gift?" The cashier smiled and gave him a pack of gum.