04 January 2012

a few words

Sorry I couldn't meet ya'll here yesterday. We were out of electricity for the day- which isn't unusual. In the afternoon, I hand lunch with Billy and some colleagues from the office. I caught a table full of guys across the patio from us taking our picture with one of their cell phones. They were instantly uncomfortable I had spotted them. Being a photographer, I've done the exact same thing. Then I went to the Turame office hoping to charge the battery in my laptop and use the internet (and got stuck there till 7 - ah, the life of an IT guy) but for some reason when I logged in on their line, everything was set to "french" and at this point, I actually know more words in Kirundi than I do in French. In absence of seeing the word "neuvoux" - which in my 80s music mindset must mean "new" in french - to know where to go to put a new post up.. I just scrapped it and read my ebook instead.

Did I tell you that I can use my michigan library card to download ebooks off of their website? While I don't love being strapped to my computer (although my laptop is still new enough that I am thrilled every time I open it!) I do love having books to read with Billy at the office all week (and sometimes for a few hours on the weekends too).

Great news though - I just began a conversation with another well known NGO here in Burundi about spending some time with their organization. Not that I don't love Turame as much as Billy does, but... honestly... while it serves into the poor to provide opportunities for short term loans to help build businesses - it is , in essence, a bank. And in absence of any monetary skills - there's not a lot for me to do there except work on my Kirundi greetings.

Here, would you like to learn* some too:
here are some words I use every day
(*spelling not guaranteed)

karibu - welcome (in swahili)
Mwaramutse - good morning
Mwaracomeye - how are you
ego, namwe - yes, and how are you
sawa - good
amahoro - peace
urgenda rwiza - safe journey
muracoze cane - thank you very much
coka icanye - a cold coke
ishusha - hot (which i usually say to mean "man, it's hot today, isn' it?)

Today's pictures... kids. Of course. Because they are the funnest even when you don't know much of their language. And they would be able to follow the randomness of this post quite easily.


  1. Love the words. Hope the new opportunity works out and many coka icanye's come your way. :) xoxo

  2. thanks Elizabeth - I'll learn new words as we keep going. Billy is amazing. i just listen in awe as he has full conversations with people. He's certainly not fluent , but his 4 months here have given him more Kirundi words than we ever picked up in Zulu or Tswana in South Africa.
    and I love the coka wish - our guard just brought me half an ear of roasted corn he made and I'll drink it with my coke - what a great lunch.


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