Africa Preparations

It is the middle of the night and I’d really love to be sleeping. But my mind is racing with the idea of my upcoming trip to Africa and of the many little things I need to remember before I go. So, rather than lie in bed awake for the rest of the night thought I’d get up and do at least a few of those things, and apparently jot a few thoughts down here on the blog as well.

I will be spending time gathering stories from Twa villages in Uganda, so I’d love to say that I’m spending my sleepless nights doing something really productive like learning Kinyarwanda so that I can speak with the Batwa  (Kinyarwanda is actually a Bantu language that most of the Batwa have taken on with their own twists, their original language all but gone. My understanding is they also make use of a good dose of Swahili). But a new language is certainly not going to happen before I go. I’ve at least got a list of some phrases:

Good morning: MwahRahMootZAY (Mwaramutse)
Good afternoon: MweeReeWay (Mwiriwe)
Hello (anytime): MooRahHoh (Muraho)
How are you?: AhMahKooRoo (Amakuru)
How are you? (reciprocated): AhMahKooRoo Yah Way (Amakuru yawe)
I’m fine: Nee MAYza (Ni meza)
Thank you: MooRahKohZay (Murakoze)
Thank you very much(Swahili): AhSANtee SAHna (Ahsante Sana)
Goodbye (afternoon): MeeReeGway (Mwirirwe)
Goodbye (evening): MooRahMooKeyAy (Muramuke)
Goodbye (general): MooRahBAYho (Murabeho)
Yes: YAYgo (Yego)
No: Oya (Oya)
What’s your name?: WitWAHNday? (Witwa nde)
My name is _.: NEETwah _. (Nitwa)
Nice to meet you (one person): NdahBeeSheemYay (Ndabishimiye)
Nice to meet you (plural, polite form): NeeSheemYay KooBah MenYah (Nishimiye kuba menya)
Good: MAYza (Meza)
Bad: BeeBee (Bibi)
Welcome: MooRahKahZah NayZa (Murakaza neza)
Water: AhMahZee (Amazi)
Beer: EeBeeYehRee (Ibyeri)
Tea: EeKEYAhYee (Icyayi)
Coffee: EeKAHwah (Ikawa)
Food: EeBeeReebGah (Ibiribwa)
Meat: EenYahMah (Inyama)
Plantains: IGeeToeGee (Igitoke)
Bread: OomooKAHtee (Umukati)
Potatoes: EeBeeRAIYee (Ibirayi)
Rice: OoMooChelEe (Umuceli)
Money: AhMaFahRanGah (Amafaranga)
How much does this cost? :NahnGahHay? (Nangahe)
White person: OoMooZoonGoo (Umuzungu)
White people: AhBahZoonGoo (Abazungu)
What?: EeKey (Iki)
Why?: KooKee? (Kuki)
How?: BeeTay (Bite)
Who? (singular): Nday (Nde)
Who? (plural): BahnDay (Bande)
When?: ReeAhDee? (Ryali)

So, other than learning a language I’m doing those little things like making sure I have enough batteries for the recorder, plenty of notebooks and pens, my malaria medicine etc. Much of my preparation consists of things I wouldn’t normally think of, but I need to remember that out in the villages there won’t be a corner store I can go to.

I, of course, will write more, but now I suppose I’ll put my sleepless night to better use than blogging. I imagine I will keep a kind of diary and post it as blog entries when I get back. Not even sure if I’ll bother to take my computer as it could be more of a hassle than useful once I get to Uganda (but, then again, old habits die hard and  I still might find my computer with me–I use the passive since of course it would be the computer choosing to join me, not me deciding to take it. But in any case, I won’t have wireless in Kisoro so my blog entries still wouldn’t be posted until later).

For now, Murabeho.


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