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Swahili in East Africa

FEBRUARY 27, 2017 | EAST AFRICA - KIFARU

The East Africa Group started their Swahili classes Wednesday morning at the Lutheran Seminary School. The Lutheran school is a boarding school with students from Kindergarten to graduation. All of the students wear blue and white uniforms.

When we arrived, we were taken to a small classroom. A student assistant, Eliamini, introduced us to our teacher, Mama Josephine. We began by learning a few greetings in Swahili. We started out easy, but we quickly became overwhelmed as we started on verbs.

Our brains got breaks from Swahili during our morning tea time. After sipping our tea and enjoying a few treats, we headed back to class. We studied noun classes for an hour and then headed out to our 2 1/2 hour lunch break. During our lunch break we eat together, play cards, journal, play basketball, listen to music, or gather together as a group.

Every day after lunch we have Swahili conversation lessons. We were divided into small groups to practice what we learned. We laughed with, and at each other, when we mispronounced Swahili. After school was over, we headed out to our last tea break.

Before sundown, we all head back to our home stays. The first day was uncomfortable for most of us. There were lots of bugs and bucket showers. Most people didn’t get much sleep due to the early singing roosters, cars, the crying pigs, or the energetic monkeys. The world here awakens around 5 AM, so most times an alarm clock is not necessary.

We are in the process of adjusting to and understanding the Tanzanian culture. A lot of things are new to us: Bucket showers, eating with our hands, petting and milking cows, and socializing (at least for me). We’ve been spending most of our time in Swahili class or playing card games. When we are not together as a group, we are with our homestay families, either being spoiled or feeling uncomfortable.

Today is the last Swahili class. It’s been a day full of review and blank faces. We started our class by singing “mahuri ni pazuri”. A teacher, named Happiness, led our small chorus. Her voice echoed around the room and gave us a sense of peace.

Sunday morning we will be going on a hike. Our group is very excited to explore nature in Morogoro. We are definitely hoping to take great pictures to share with our families back home.