Tuesday, September 23, 2008



A beautiful language originated in the 14th century with the native people along the coast. Arab and Portuguese influence. Swahili: Wa (we) Siwa (Ocean) Hili (this) The Ocean People.

Simon was our Swahili teacher for a day. His humor and humility made him the most genuine instructor. We could all laugh at ourselves!

He gave us so much to learn and think about:

Hello- Jambo
How are you? Habari yako
I’m fine- Nzuri sana
Thank you
very much- Asante sana
Plealse- Tajadhali
Baaday see you later
cool! poa
good bye Kwa heri
See you later! baaday

In the field:
Twende! Let’s go!
Simama Stop.
Pole pole Slowly.
Mbele Forward
Nyuma Back.
Sawa sawa OK

We had opportunity to use the language out in the field and in the dining room. Sometimes when I was at the spotlight, my excitement tripped up my newly learned words. I'd say "sawa sawa" insted of "simama!" It was a good thing nobody was really listening;) Seriously, though, we were encouraged to practice and speak as much Swahili as possible. And no matter how incorrectly we used it, everyone always responded with a genuine smile and laugh. It is powerful to connect to others this way. Not only through words, but through effort. (sometimes humiliation!) and respect. I so enjoyed this process, and I already miss speaking the language of the Ocean people in all its glory.

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