Week 2: Swahili and Tribes

Hello friends! Today (Thursday), our group is going to an archeological site! An Archeologist from the University is taking us about 2 hours outside of Nairobi to a site for the day. We are unrealistically hoping to find some dinosaurs that have never been found before in our 6-hour time slot. Any name ideas?

We are learning more about Kenya everyday. Kenya has 42 tribes and each tribe speaks its own language, but the national language is Swahili. People (usually) are very proud of the tribe from which they come. One Kenyan said that violence only last for a maximum of 3 months in Kenya because if 2 tribes are fighting the other 40 tribes want them to stop fighting so they can go on with their business. Of course, some tribes are much much bigger than others, but when you add them all up it creates a big voice. Kenya became independent from Britain in 1963 and is still a young country when compared with the rest of the world, but an average age when compared with all of the African countries getting their independence from colonization.

Swahili lessons are still going on formally and informally. It is a nice language because everything is spelt like it sounds. I came to the realization that Swahili is the first language I am learning which I actually get to use conversationally. Latin, Biblical Hebrew, and Biblical Greek are not commonly spoken languages…at least where I hang out. However, I get to practice Swahili everyday. When I return to the states I am not sure how helpful it will be (except for quoting the Lion King), but for now it is incredibly helpful and (intriguing) to know what everyone is saying.

I have been very careful to use the word different when describing how certain things are here compared with the States. For instance, they drive on the different side of the road, not wrong. My favorite “difference” currently is their definition of cold. It is what I consider very nice weather here; however, when it drops below 75 the Kenyans bundle up. A few nights ago when I came home, it was around 70 and our gatekeeper was bundled up like an Eskimo (beanie, scarf, and heavy coat). I walked by him in my T-shirt feeling like it was a nice fall day. It would have been a good picture. This was also evident when I was with my host family last week and had sinus problems, every time I would cough they would make me put on a jacket (or another jacket) because I was “cold.” They did this until I started sweating and explained to them that this cold weather for them was actually quite nice for me.

Finally, I will end with my funny church story of the week. We went to a Lutheran church Sunday morning which was very structured and only an hour or so long which was nice. However, during communion I got a shock when I unintelligently assumed the liquid in the cup was Welch’s grape juice (like it is usually in the Presbyterian Church in the States) rather than wine. Luckily, I did heed to my body’s impulse to spew, but returned to my seat and coughed for the next several minutes. This could have just as easily occurred in the states at a Lutheran church, but something makes it more special in Africa.

Well, I hope all is well back in the States! I miss all of you and really enjoy hearing from you so thank you for your comments and e-mails. Have a great day! I’ll blog you next week sometime.

PS I will post pictures when I have a faster connection.

One Response to “Week 2: Swahili and Tribes”

  1. Wendy November 14, 2008 at 5:39 am #

    >What is it that you are so allergic to? In my imagination it would be so dry there wouldn’t be a lot to be allergic too?

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