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January 18, 2007

The beauty of language

It’s been a lot of fun learning Swahili and putting it to use. I started at the Visa/Passport station at the airport, saying to the woman, “Nafurahi kukufahamu” (It’s nice to meet you). She smiled and laughed and said, “Karibu Kenya” (Welcome to Kenya) and “[I forget]” (Be at home here).

All day, walking around town, I used all of my little phrases and nice things to say to people passing on the street. People ALWAYS appreciate it, laugh, and open up. It makes SUCH a difference to even attempt to speak in someone’s language.

I notice that there not that many people in the hostel are trying to learn Swahili (the vast majority of Nairobians speak English)… but it’s such a fun language!

The guy on the right is Mwende [sorry! photo coming soon], who taught me how to say, “Good morning” and “I am very happy to be here.” He was quite humored to see me attempt Swahili and couldn’t believe that I had been in Kenya for less than 12 hours.

I go back to one of my favorite mantras: 80% is just about showing up (and in this case, making the effort…).

1 comment:

Charla said...

Hi sweetie! Absolutely you always show up! good work making a great impression -- happy coming up birthday -- I want to sing you a song somehow perhaps, i'll figure it out!
love from north america,
charlita