Recent Posts

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I sure hope practice makes perfect!

Hmm...I was oddly reminded tonight that I need to persevere with my Swahili if not for myself but of those I'm talking to. Tonight after dinner I joined my Kenyan family for a cup of Kahawa (coffee). I brought my Swahili book with me and was practicing my nouns. I would point to something around the room and say the Swahili word. Like I've said before, I'm pretty sure that I sound like a two year old to them. "Kisu...Knife!" "Kicombe...teacup!" "Glassi...cup!" Then I decided to practice words for the people in the room. "Mama...Momma!" "Kaka...Brother!" Instead of using the word "Baba" and pointing to the father I decided to be a little fancy and use the very respectful word for an elder, "Mzee!" Well, I spoke too soon and with too much of my American tongue. What SHOULD have sounded like "M-zay" came out as "Mz-ee"...the way we would pronounce a double "e" sound. It didn't take long to know that I had said it wrong because down went the paper the father was reading and he asked, "what did you say that I am?" I repeated myself, "Mz-ee!" All the brothers began to laugh. One finally paused his laughter long enough to tell me that I had just told his father that he was a "bad one." I was trying to give much respect to the father and ended up calling him a "bad one" in front of his whole family. I'll tell you this much, I will NEVER again forget how to pronounce that word! I'm sure glad that God had enough grace to put me with a family who laughs a lot...he knew I would need it!


Alden and Dorian said...

Kate, what a pleasure to hear how you are doing in Africa! Wow, what an adventure you are that God has orchestrated. What a great author you are....I love your posts. You take me right to the situation at hand...and I feel like I am sitting right there with you. You also make me laugh. Thanks for sharing your life with us back here in Burke. It is snowing as I pretty and offers a calm time to check out blogs. Know we think of you so often and pray continually for you. We love you and miss you, but wouldn't take away a moment of God's plan for YOU. Love you, Dorian

Post a Comment