Speaking Kiswahili is such an back and forth game. Some days I rock it and feel so proud. Other days I try super hard and fail like crazy. But no matter how much I learn, I constantly feel insufficient. There is so much more to know. And ultimately, I really do have a lot more to know, grammar and vocab wise. And that’ll just take practice. But when I take the initiative and time to look up words I want to know and try to use them, it’s so rewarding. Still, I have this fear of never being fluent. However, trying, even when I fail, still teaches me something, so I must never be afraid to try. And Tanzanians are super friendly and ready to correct you if you need it. Which can be frustrating, but also great for learning a language. What brought all this on was coming back home to my host fam after a week shadowing at Cheryl’s. We spoke a LOT of English because 1) she refuses to embrace the language and so gets by with super super basic Kiswahili and mostly English 2) I was around Americans for a week straight, so I didn’t have to use Kiswahili that much. It’s so much easier to talk without thinking. But then I got home to my host family and even my greetings were off kilter. It’s like, no matter how experienced and strong I feel in the language, even little breaks and I forget a lot. But then when I do remember, it all comes back so fast. And I’ve gotten a lot faster at forming basic sentences to meet my needs. Granted, they all have simplistic structure and the same like 20 verbs, but they usually get my point across fast when I need it. It’s rewarding when it snaps into place. It’s like “Whew! I CAN do this.” Kidogo kidogo (little by little).
Here are other things I discovered, after shadowing at Cheryl’s, that I could really really use at site:
Pens (anything in the US is made better than the pens here)
Misc others: bisquick, premade cookie, cake or muffin mix, syrup