I Don’t Speak Swahili, But I Can Laugh.

This past week was spent visiting and documenting World Concern’s projects in the larger Narok area. Myself, as well as two wonderful colleagues (Edwin and Winnie), visited around 6 villages and over 15 different project sites.

As is the case in many places, the further we traveled from the big city of Nairobi, the less-likely the chances were that English was going to be spoken. Fortunately, I was with many bi/tri-lingual friends. [side note: I’m in the process of registering for a Swahili course but, for now, my Swahili is a bit on the I-barely-speak-any side. I can get away with ‘how are you’, ‘hi’, ‘no thank you’, ‘goodbye’, ‘a lot’, ‘a little bit’, ‘I want’… basically enough to make people think that I know the language, then confuse them when I don’t.] Because of this, there were multiple projects where I had to use the process of deduction and reading hand motions (which are also different in other cultures) in order to translate what was going on. I never felt frustrated, because I didn’t expect anyone to cater to me, the one English-only speaking Muzungu (‘white person’). But I did leave more motivated to learn Swahili, the second most commonly spoken language in East Africa (most people speak English, Swahili, and their tribal language. When asked, I say I speak some Spanish… ppphhtt).

I also left the week encouraged that there is a language that can be translated universally, laughter. Personally, this is the best language out there.

(More stories to come on these laughing folk in the near future!)

Showing off the Primary School garden in Narok- supported by World Concern..

Showing off the Primary School garden in Narok- supported by World Concern.

We love banking! Sogoo, Narok.

We love banking! Financial Services Association (FSA) board members in  Sogoo, Narok.

Trying to hold it together at one of World Concern's water pumps. These folks used to walk 8+ miles a day to get their water. They have ten children.- meaning they need a lot of water.

Trying to hold it together while posing at one of World Concern’s water pumps. These folks used to walk 8+ miles a day to get their water. They have ten children – meaning, they need a lot of water.

FSA member/business owner Helen and her giggly baby.

FSA member/business owner Helen and her giggly baby (btw, despite the deceiving  appearance of the outfits, it was NOT 35 degrees this day…)

Restaurant owner and FSA member, Grace, laughing with one of her loyal customers.

Restaurant owner and FSA member, Grace, laughing with one of her loyal customers.

Edwin, Winnie, and the incredible Narok staff (left to right: John, David, Moses, and Patricia). These folks know how to have a good time.

Edwin, Winnie, and the incredible Narok staff (left to right: John, David, Moses, and Patricia). These folks know how to have a good time.

Lily- the most vivacious woman I have ever met. Lily is an active World Concern FSA member.

Lily- the most vivacious woman I have ever met. Lily is an active World Concern FSA member.

Beautiful Jane - member of the FSA bank in Naroosura, Narok.

Beautiful Jane – member of the World Concern FSA bank in Naroosura, Narok.

One of Helen's (FSA member) posho mill customers. Who doesn't love grinding corn?!

One of Helen’s (FSA member) posho mill customers. Who doesn’t love grinding corn?!

Principle and giggling students at World Concern supported school garden.

Principal and giggling students at World Concern supported school garden.

Still experiencing water pump laughter.

Still experiencing water pump laughter.

Vivacious Lily's youngest, Gilbert. Also a recipient of World Concern's FSA.

Vivacious Lily’s youngest, Gilbert. Also a recipient of World Concern’s FSA.

Dear Christine - World Concern High School Scholarship recipient. She's since graduated, but put on her old school uniform just to entertain us.

Dear Christine – World Concern High School Scholarship recipient. She’s since graduated, but put on her old school uniform just to entertain us.

This lovely woman is the principle at a boarding school for vulnerable girls.  She's laughing while standing in their World Concern supported school garden.

This lovely woman is the head teacher at a boarding school for vulnerable girls. She’s laughing while standing in their World Concern supported school garden.

More FSA bank laughter.

More FSA bank laughter. Naroosura, Narok.

Christine's beautiful and supportive mother.

Christine’s beautiful and supportive mother.

 

Kijoolu and her amazing toothy grin. Kijoolu used to walk miles during the wee hours of the morning to collect water. She now walks a short distance to one of World Concern's shallow wells.

Kijoolu and her amazing toothy grin. Kijoolu used to walk miles during the wee hours of the morning to collect water. She now walks a short distance to one of World Concern’s shallow wells. This woman is the epitome of resilient.

Christine and her Great-Grandma. Rumor has it she is 120 years old. Or 80. We'll go with 120.

Christine and her Great-Grandma. Rumor has it she is 120 years old. Or 80. We’ll go with 120.

This is how I make friends. It's working, I promise.

This is how I make friends. It’s working, I promise.

More stories on these folks to come! Hope this leaves you with a smile of your own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “I Don’t Speak Swahili, But I Can Laugh.

  1. Pingback: Humanitarian Worker Initiation...The Language of Acronyms // So, What is an FSA? | Voice through a Window

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