Goal 2: Learn Swahili

Time again to look back at the goals I set myself for my time in Kenya:

Goal 1: Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

Goal 2: Learn Swahili

Goal 3: Travel to all 5 East African Community Partner States

It is evident from this blog that I am storming ahead on Goal 3 and am very likely to complete it. Therefore,  although many of you may have thought/been eagerly awaiting a blog post about my trip to Zanzibar, I rather felt that I needed to update you on my other goals first so as not to be too biased towards number 3. And since I don’t think you are too interested in reading about the yoga classes I have started in preparation for Goal 1, I have instead decided to blog about my first Swahili Class.

This is what I learnt:

1. In the office, when someone came back from a meeting or a conference, people would always inquire how their “safari” was. I thought they were being ironic, because to me, safari implies a holiday where you go and see animals in the wilderness (not that I thought that they were being ironic about the going to see animals bit, but rather implying that they had been away on holiday). I have since found out that safari actually means “journey” in swahili. Duh.

2. The word for “grandmother” and “tomato” is the same in swahili. I am yet to figure out how that came to be. Any suggestions welcome.

3. My swahili teacher was teaching us different words and said that so long as we string them together, sentence construction is not important at our level of swahili. When we got to the verb section each of us were stringing together verbs and nouns to make our simple swahili sentences. When it was my turn, I decided to say “I drive to Mount Longonot” using the verb “to drive” as had previously been provided by my Swahili teacher. I was very proud at having constructed my first sentence, until my teacher said “ahhh for this one sentence construction does matter.” So I asked why and his response was “You have to say’I drive the car to Mount Longonot’ ” Again, not satisfied with why this was the only verb where the sentence construction seemed to matter, I pressed further. He responded “You have just said that you are having very bad diahorea to Mt. Longonot.” I was thus convinced that this is a sentence structure I would study throughly before I ever try to use it again.

Here a sneak preview for the next blog post:

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