10 – You greet campus security and others as you pass by them saying “Habari” and they reply “Nzuri sana” with a smile.
9- The ladies at the campus library cheer when you reply “Nzuri sana” to their greeting to you.
8- Any small attempt at communication elicits the response, “You are doing so well!”
7-You pick up isolated words from conversations as you pass by groups of people… kesho (tomorrow), leo (today), sawasawa (okay), pole sana (so sorry), and so on.
6- You approach another adult saying: “Want to hear me count to ten? Moja, mbili, tatu, nne, tano, sita, saba, nane, tisa, kumi!” (video – so you know how to say them, too.)
5- You listen to the songs in chapel to learn new words becasue often the English translation is written below. (Sometimes, this is frustrating. “Oseiye” is “Thank you” in Yoruba, not Swahili.)
4- You borrow a well used Swahili grammar book from the library. Language learning is work.
3- You are gently corrected by the guy manning the desk in the hallway. (I said “Siku njema” (Have a good day). Since it was a Friday evening, he said I should say, “Wikendi njema” (Have a good weekend).
2- You understand a bit more each time you listen to the song Baba Yetu (Our Father)
1- You go beyond just greeting someone and get to eat your reward – a warm ndazi from the Karibu Cafe. (At 20⊄, this could become a favorite way to start my day, and uh, practice some Swahili, of course.)
Bonus pictures – The baboons were in the back yard this morning. This one thinks the light pole is as good as the crook of a tree and the other is completely at ease walking on the barbed wire fence.