I cracked up this morning when I heard on the news that San Diego Zoo’s “Wild Animal Park” is going to change its name to the San Diego Zoo “Safari Park.” It’s hilarious to me because in Swahili a “safari” is a journey — sure, driving around looking at animals is technically a journey, but really any old road trip qualifies (even if there are no lions). Hopefully they left all the annoying guys handing out safari pamphlets back in Nairobi!
I don’t know when the word “safari” entered the American lexicon, but the Beach Boys definitely went on a Surfin’ Safari in 1962. Americans are apparently good at integrating words from other languages into English, though. Off the top of my head, we have kindergarten from the Germans and smörgåsbord from the Swedes, and hakuna matata! You did know that’s Swahili too, right?
On a semi-related note, I just went on a surfin’ safari in Pacific Beach. The water was freezing and the waves were small and blown out, but I managed to get twenty minutes of good body surfing in before my body was numb and I was tired of floating around out there. I had to take a walk down the boardwalk to warm up afterwards. Brrr!
Kenya is like a music factory, and it’s not just quantity: there is a diverse range of quality music in this country! Gospel, reggae, rap, you name it. I’m not sure if there is any local rock yet, but I’m sure it’s on the way. I’ve really come to appreciate Nairobi, though I don’t always understand it. The youth speak English and Swahili, but they’ve created an interesting hybrid, sheng, which evolves every single day. Sheng finds its way directly into Nairobi’s entertainment industry, so if you speak Swahili and you have no clue what the kids in Kenya are saying, you’re not alone!
Hii ngoma is “this music” and noma is sheng for “nice” or something like that. Basically, “this music is off the chains!” Also, if you haven’t seen Get Mziki.com‘s new music blog, you’re missing out! Enjoy these tracks from three of Nairobi’s most popular genge artists:
I just noticed a new VSO blog aggregator, VSO Journals. It’s not an official VSO venture, though word has it they’re working on their own version as well. I think I read somewhere that the dude who started it was a VSO volunteer once, but I can’t remember where I saw it. Anyways, the site was created to collect all VSO blogs in one place. It’s fascinating to know that there are other dudes and dudettes out there right now in Africa, Asia, South America, etc blogging away. The Internet is crazy. I encourage you to go read some blogs, post some comments, and tell your friends.
On a side note, I am now realizing how uncreative I was in naming this website. The “__(insert name)__ in __(insert country)__” naming scheme is very popular. I guess the main bonus is the ease of memorization. The down side is that you end up sounding really unoriginal… I promise I truly thought I was being cute when I picked this site’s first name: http://sarainkenya.org. It’s turned out to be a popular trend in naming; from memory, for starters: Continue Reading