Conversational journeys over cups of chai, at home and abroad.

Habari yako?

Habari yako? – What’s your news?

My morning…

Dropped one of the international volunteers off at the big bus stand in Dar at 6am in the morning.  The bus stand was teeming with people – ticket touts, taxi drivers, and some hustlers to boot.  After getting the volunteer situated on the bus, I flagged down a taxi driver to head back home.  Negotiated the taxi fare at his window before getting in.  He wanted to charge me the “mzungu” price.  Mzungu is the Swahili word for white person / foreigner.  I got him down to the real price, jumped in the taxi and had the following conversation in broken English:

“You, you be my teacher of English” – him

“No, you, you be my teacher of Swahili” – me

High fives and laughs ensued.

“You, you have husband?” – him

“Yes.  You, you have wife.” – me

“Yes.” – him

“You, you like to have kids?” – him

“No, I don’t have kids yet.  And you?” – me

“Yes.  You, you like to have my kids 3.” – him


Then I realized he hadn’t yet mastered English personal pronouns.  He was telling me that he had three kids.  The conversation went on with him constantly referring to himself as you and me continuing to be confused.

Taxi ride complete, back home before heading into downtown to visit one of the government offices.  Was there the day before as some officials played a game of having me wait for hours to see if I would offer a bribe to get them to do their jobs.  No bribe offered but needed to return this morning to follow up.

Made it to town, time at the government ministry only took about an hour (that was fast), and celebrated by heading to my favorite little Indian chai shop.  Thought of you and missed the normalcy of life in the US. – Alyssa


Comments are closed.