The views expressed herein are mine and not those of the Peace Corps.



Useful Acronyms

PC Peace Corps
ICT Information & Communications Technology
PCT Peace Corps Trainee (pre-swearing-in)
PCV Peace Corps Volunteer (post-swearing-in)
PST Pre-Service Training
CBT Community-Based Training


This afternoon Mama Ismael told me that I was coming with her to visit a bereaved friend in the evening; having nothing better to do, I agreed. She came by to pick me up a short while before it got dark and we walked over. After saying “pole” (sorry) a lot when we arrived, the conversation turned to other topics. These included: the friend’s trip (she apparently had both good luck, getting a free ride, and bad luck, having to wait a long time); hospitals (the consensus: clean, but they don’t treat you like people. Visiting hours in particular were complained about; the women agreed that it’s inhumane to prevent family and friends from seeing the sick people, and furthermore postulated that the sick people might die from lack of human contact. Given how social Tanzanians are, both theses might well be correct.); and concluded with a rousing session of gossip, much of which went over my head, involving a prodigious amount of agreeing with each other, speaking over one another, and repeating a single word back and forth in agreement. I said next to nothing, aside from various greetings and a few questions for her son, but it was definitely interesting to listen to the conversation and to observe the conversational twists and tendencies. While sitting there, it finally dawned on me that the reason I use “ee” so much in conversation is that Mama Ismael says it all the time, and maybe half the Swahili conversations I have are with her. So if nothing else, the evening provided that small revelation.

Write a comment