Language, Barriers and Open Doors

My second post over at The Blog Wander is up and I’m still really excited to be part of such a fun and inspiring project. And mind you, ‘inspiring’ isn’t usually a word I use lightly.
So what are you waiting for? Head over and read the posts of these fun and brave girls who reflect on their lives, loves, and travels. They’re talented writers and their stories will suck you right in :)

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My new post is about languages. I am convinced that languages have an insane power. They’re also endlessly fascinating and by trying to speak even one or two words of the local language while in another country, you’ll convey a totally new picture of who you are.

“Learning these words and phrases was worth it in more ways than just reveling in their surprised faces. It was me showing them that yes, I am from a different country, yes, I am just visiting and yes, I might just be a young girl, but I really am trying. I’m trying to understand the local customs and traditions. I’m trying to communicate with you, even though we both speak different languages and can barely understand each other. I’m trying to make the most of it. I’m trying.

And isn’t that really all that we can do?”

You can read the entire post here.

 

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“Mambo!” “Poa!”

Learn to talk like a local!

I went to a souvenir market yesterday. It was very touristy, and so the people there were constantly shouting at us “Hello, my friend, come to my shop, I will make you good price, Rafiki price!”
The would follow us around, would not stop talking for even a second. The only thing that kind of helped was this.

When approaching a shop I smiled at the people there and said a loud and clear “Mambo!” (“What’s up?”) To which they’d reply the customary “Poa!” (“I’m cool!”)
Then they’d say “Karibu!” (“Welcome!”) to which I would reply “Asante.” (“Thank you.”)
If they’d continue with a “Habari.” (“What’s new?” Again, I know.) I’d throw in my last conversational piece and say “Salama.” (“I’m fine.”)

Then sometimes I had them convinced that I’m fluent in Swahili, so when they’d continue to talk to me in Swahili I’d just laugh, embarrassed, shake my head and tell them “Sorry, I don’t understand.” in English.
After that the people were generally a bit more quiet, left us mostly in peace and were a tad friendlier. At least that’s how it seemed to me. Greeting is super important in this culture, and replying is also a must, even if you do not stop and just keep walking. Say “Poa.” and go your merry way.

I’m continuing to pick up new words and sentences but I find it quite hard. My dyslexic side seems to be shining through more than ever with this language!