Food, Kenya

Haha, actually, computer bugs suck, and even Linux crashes. Anyways, the ATM in Tala had this error on the screen the other day when I was getting some money. It was working fine, just a little slower than normal. I even got a chance to practice Swahili with a mama (mama is a respectful word for a woman, pronounce it like in Spanish, with the accent on the second “a”). When I left the booth I tried to explain to her that it was broken, but only a bit, and that it was still working: imeharibika kidogo, lakini inafanya kazi. She looked a bit puzzled so I reassured her that I had withdrawn money, but that the machine was working slowly. She seemed relieved, so I hope it worked… I didn’t stick around to see if she was successful.

On a side note, I’m cooking some fried rice with enough cilantro to kill a horse. Just another Friday night alone in Tala… good thing I have Linux and death metal.


I just woke up and remembered a dream I was having… in Swahili.  It wasn’t all Swahili but it’s a sign that I’m on my way to being fluent.  You always hear people talking about whether they can dream in a language other than their mother tongue, so it must be a significant event.  I was never fluent in Spanish, but after studying it for five years and growing up in San Diego I probably got pretty close.  Having said that, I don’t remember having any dreams in Español.

As far as I can remember the dream, I was at a movie theater somewhere.  I think I had snuck in and gotten kicked out, or I dunno.  The part I remember is telling some little Kenyan kid ukiingia utachapwa (“if you enter you will get hit”).  That’s all I remember.  Maybe I wasn’t sneaking in, maybe I was working there, who knows.  Anyways, let’s hope I have more dreams in Swahili because it’s a pretty funny phenomenon.

On a side note, my Spanish sucks now. Any simple sentence I try to create in my head comes out in Swahili. Oh well. Hopefully it’s still in there somewhere.

Kenya, Rants

Last week I was reading about the evolution of Latin languages in Western Europe and it made me think about Swahili here in East Africa. Swahili is the official language of Kenya and Tanzania (and apparently Uganda, but I’ve been there and I didn’t hear much). The thing is, while most Kenyans do speak Swahili, everyone knows it’s not the sanifu (“pure”) brand you’ll find spoken in Tanzania. After independence, Tanzania’s first president was all excited about forging a strong national identity, and part of that was pushing for the adoption of Swahili as the national language. I read in Paul Theroux’s Dark Star Safari that one independence-era government official’s words were: “English is the language of the imperialists.” Sure enough, traveling in Tanzania is hard if you don’t speak Swahili because English is by no means pervasive!
Continue Reading