I said, “Jambo!” to just about everyone I could make eye contact with.
Jambo means Hi, Hello, or Greetings, as I’ve been taught. So far, it seems to work.
“Habari?” (How are you?)
“Salama.” (I’m fine.), or
“Nzuri.” (Perhaps not quite as emphatic as Salama.) You need to hum the “N”.
A few said, “Mambo!” (Brother or same age group slang for What’s chill’n? or a friendly greeting. That’s nice, since those Mambo-ers generally seemed much younger than me. So, now I’m strutting around town thinking my gray hair might not give away my true generation bracket as I actually represent.)
“Poa!” I responded, but only after that pregnant pause that said, “I’m still thinking of the correct reply.”)
Generally, a broad smile ensued, as the passer bye would keep his eyes fixed on that solitary white guy wearing the cowboy hat/sun-blocker. An absolute city slicker, not just a little bit out of his league!
A Shortcut to Heaven
I may have tripped across a shortcut to heaven.
On my first solo walk earlier today, I walked around the block. Good exercise. Probably would have served to make my route to heaven a bit longer. I took a left out of the compound, climbed the hill a bit, until I got to the cross road that Lota often takes back to the main drag, I think because it’s not quite as bumpy. I think that he just doesn’t appreciate the adventure everyday of riding the bigger and rockier bumps. (Wimp!) I took a hard right, and proceeded downward. Got to an intersection (a Yogi fork-in-the-road) and adhered to Yogi’s advice. I took it. It looked like it might intersect the road on which our compound sits. It didn’t. But since the sharp left it forced me into seemed to descend some more, I took the adventure and proceeded. I made it to the main road, paved, teeming with traffic (still all going the wrong way from both directions), and littered with roadside grocery stores. I remembered Lota stopping at the store right across the street from our rocky road to the compound. I crossed the street (risking an immediate go-to-heaven opportunity, and entered the shop whose overhead sign read, “Bakery!”. I bought two of them, pastries, that is. Forget the good stuff! Immediate gratification grabbed me like a big old bear who liked me. “I’ll take the rock bun and a donut!” Gave her the money, told her to keep the change (50 TSH or about 3 cents, I can be generous at times), and then asked her for a napkin. Before I even got out the door, the paper bag into which she placed my goodies began to absorb the grease that was otherwise destined for my heart. No doubt that the rest of the pastries still held enough of it to outweigh the health benefits of my walk, and get me closer to God more quickly.
Well, I made it back to the compound, and am hoping that I’ve got everything prepared. Calvin, one of my students, just walked in, so I’m going to sign off.
Forgive me for this distraction, inasmuch there’s not much value in this communication, other than perhaps a smile wrapped in a greasy paper bag of an email.
All the best;