(I am learning Swahili!)
… and this dapper gentleman is the one who is teaching me. Feel very sorry for him – since discovering I can get free texts whilst I’m out here I text him CONSTANTLY as I practise my Swahili.
He gets to hear about what I’m eating “Leo mchana, nitakwenda Kirumba Resort kula. Nitakula kuku, wali na mchozi” (This afternoon, I will be going to Kirumba Resort to eat. I will eat chicken, rice and mchozi [a sort of broth you have with your rice])
He is contacted about my work “Kesho asabuhi, nyfanya kazi malaika milele na Mabula. Nita kaisidia Mabula kuongera” (Tomorrow morning, I work at Forever Angels with Mabula. I will help him to speak)
I tell him the time “Sasa, saa kumi na mbili jioni” (Now it is 6 in the evening)
…and sometimes I text him complete nonsense “Nitakapo kwenda nyumbani, nitapenda kuroka na ongera mrusi” (when I go home, I would like to jump and speak Russian)
The grammar is appalling not to mention the spelling. It must be like having some demented 5 year old contact you day and night. And I don’t stop there – as far as I’m concerned any Tanzanian on the same pathway as me is fair game for an “habari yako” and then a basic monolgue of where I’m from, where I work, what I like to do and where I’m off to. And the awful thing is my receptive Kiswahili is shite so any attempt at reply is met with a repetitive “sifahamo” (I don’t understand).
But pole, pole (slowly, slowly) I am getting there and of course it makes it much easier to build relationships with the local people I really want to hang out with. Emmanuel is a very encouraging teacher and often tells me I’m his best student and patiently responds to the pidgin Swahili I text. Pole sana mwalimu kiswahili yangu!!
And so I persevere… Nita funikuwa!