YRAP in Swahilli

Published: 22 June 2011

A slightly quick blog tonight... (Mainly because I need a few more minutes sleep before out trip to Bagamoyo tomorrow.)

After three days here, we've managed to master a few phrases in Swahilli - mainly thanks to Emmanuel and Patrick at the EU delegation - leading to YRAP's (very brief) guide to Swahilli.


- Mambo - 'How are you?'
 You can also use 'Habari,' but Mambo is more informal. Reply is 'Poa,' which means 'Cool.'


- Asante - Thank You.
The word we use the most - to the people who give their time to talk to us, or to show us their projects or offices. Everywhere we've been, everyone has helped us and answered our many, many questions.

Even though it's currently the school holidays for example, the headmistress of a school for the deaf and blind, two of the pupils and their parents all came in today to let us see the work that goes on there - teaching children not only academically, but in some cases - such as the deaf blind children we met today - also vocationally, meaning they have the skills for the future to bring in money for their families.

The reply to 'Karibuni, which means 'Welcome.' (Also used by souvenir shop owners to make sure you come into their shops. Luckily, you say 'Asante' to people trying to sell you things to make them realise you're not interested.


- Mizuri - Good
Can be used to answer 'Habari' but also means good in general. Used today when describing the pizzas made for us in a bakery class we visited for disabled people. This training will finish with a work placement and then, hopefully, a full time job - a real achievement for a disabled people, who are often discriminated against. They stand little chance of getting a formal job - only 20% of the Tanzanian population work in the formal sector to start with. Ingrediants for traditional italian pizza is hard to find here, so the pizzas only used the produce that can be found locally - pizzas were topped with tomatoes and potatos.


- Muzungo - White people.
It isn't offensive, although people definitely said it at us when we got trapped driving down one of Dar Es Salaam's narrow streets with a rather huge lorry heading the other way. (Luckily, a huge crowd of people were there to watch the whole thing.)

  Many traders and beggars target Muzungos, who they see as always having plenty of money to give - and more and more money is starting to be spent by Westerners in the country.
According to my definitely totally accurate guidebook, tourism now makes up 14% of Tanzania's GDP, don't you know?

There are many different ethnic groups here, with over 100 tribes in the country as well as more and more people coming from places such as the Middle East to invest. The economy is growing at arounf 7-8% a year, producing a new middle class with money to spend. More and more people especially want cars.


'Ai!' - Pretty universal. Usually used when driving on the roads of the city to mean 'Oh-my-god-that-car-nearly-hit-us-that-was-rather-close-this-is-mad.' Rules of the road are not particularly important here- but everything works in it's own chatoically orderly way. Unfortunatly, this is also the result of the growing number of people buying cars.


Tomorrow: a renewable angergy project, work to ensure girls enter education, and a trip to a few historical sites (: