Swahili Lesson in Mid – Air

By Tracy G., CE Adviser in Africa

It is Friday April 2, 2010 at 5:15pm. I am on the plane to Nairobi with about 4 hours left to go. Outside the window is this amazing view of the Sahara Desert. It seems to go on forever even at 37,000ft. How long would it seem if you were stranded there? Just thinking about it made me push the flight attendant button to ask for water.

I am sitting next to a young man who is from Nairobi, but has been schooling in London. He helped me learn some Swahili. I had all the intentions to memorize phrases and such before I left, but it didn’t happen.

Jambo — hello
Jina langu ni Tracy — My name is Tracy
Jina yako ni ?? — what is your name?
Asante Sana — thank you very much
Nina sikianja — I’m hungry
Wewe ni mrembo — you are pretty
tafadhali — please
bafu iko wapi — where is the bathroom?
pesa ngapi — how much?
Habari Yako — How are you?
Mzuri Sana — very good
kwaheri — bye
lala salama — sleep well
benki iko wapi — where is the bank?
kulia — right
kushoto — left
pole — sorry (excuse me)

Once you get the hang of the pronuciations, it seems pretty easy.

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