Friday, December 12, 2014

how do you say "mulligan" in swahili?

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Today's Think Kit blog post prompt:


We've put another quarter in the slot – free play! Hit the reset button on a moment this year: what would you do over? Whether or not you analyze your actions – how would you act differently? Would the outcomes shift, or stay the same? From a single sentence to a whole day (and everything in-between), feel free to explain your choice, from how you felt immediately after the moment passed, to any thoughts that ran through your mind beforehand. Take a mulligan!

This is an easy one - I would have done a better job of learning Swahili. I spent a few months casually learning some words and phrases. I read a book and downloaded a few apps and recorded myself saying some key phrases and thought I was good to go.

First of all, I was cocky. I didn't practice listening to Swahili phrases. I could say some stuff, but had no idea what people were trying to say to me.

Secondly, I didn't learn anything practical. Sure, I knew how to say "dress," but I had no idea how to bargain and I didn't have a good grasp of numbers, which is critical since there are no prices on anything.

I also didn't learn phrases like, "Oh no! The bus is pulling away from the market with my godmother on it and all is have with me are some coins and a roll of toilet paper!" My mistake.

Finally, all of the things I was confident is saying were the EXACT SAME THINGS that most Tanzanians could say in English. Once we got past hello and how are you, it was downhill.

If I could do it all again, I'd invest more time and effort into learning Swahili.

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