Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ninajifunza Kiswahili

Today I said that the elephant was my husband.  Last week I said that the towel was mean.  The week before that I said that the bored person was looking at wealth.

Such is the humor of learning a language!

My teacher, Carol, has been laughing with me (and at me) during the past 5 weeks of my attempt to learn Swahili.  She is a wonderful and patient teacher who encourages me constantly and who claims that I'm doing quite well.  I love learning, even though my pace has slowed significantly in the last couple weeks due to the amount of words and grammar floating around in my head.

Being able to recognize words as I overhear people speaking is invigorating.  Some examples of words I've recently heard and recognized include: bara bara (road), mgongo (back), safiri (to travel), leta (to bring).  Equally exciting is when I find a way to speak a complete sentence out loud to someone else and have them understand me!  For example, over the weekend I was at Maasai Market in Nairobi and was able to say, "Mume wangu ni daktari kwa Tenwek Hospitali" which means, "My husband is a doctor at Tenwek Hospital" which, for my purposes, essentially meant "I'm not a tourist!  I live here in Kenya, so give me a fair price!"  I was also able to say, "Ninataka kununua ngoma.  Bei gani?" which means, "I want to buy a drum.  How much is it?"  It's empowering to have some Swahili vocabulary under my belt!

My language study will only last for 12 weeks, so I'm nearly halfway done already.  Even so, by the end I will confidently say that the elephant belonged to my husband, the towel was dirty, and the bored person was looking at the boat.

Mungu atasaidia hivyo nitaongea Kiswahili kidogo!