Friday, 28 September 2012

Breaking Rocks

Thursday September 27th

Every day as I push the bike up the hill to Boza I pass families whose income is derived from providing aggregate for concrete.  They get a collection of rocks and then sit all day with a lump hammer breaking the rocks into small chunks that can be mixed with sand and cement to form concrete.  This week I practised one of my newest phrases, which I type from memory so excuse any spelling errors, - Tafadahli, nina weza kuwapiga picha. This means – “Can I take your picture please” and earlier this week I stopped to talk to one of the families and used my Swahili.  It must have worked as they then posed and in sign language we managed to agree that in payment I would give them a print out of the picture.

Below you can see the end product of their labour and the going rate is Tsh 1000 (40p) for a barrel full, and the barrels are big. 

As I cycled past this afternoon one of woman who was busy hammering called across – “Picha” and my Swahili didn’t let me down as I shouted back “Jumatatu (Monday) and she happily returned to the job in hand.

Incidentally, learning new words has never been easy to me so I use the picture method until they eventually drop into normal useage.  To remember tafadahli (thank you), I imagined a welsh painter; tuuta onana (see you later) was a NZ Featherstone Rovers rugby player eating a piece of fruit; and even simple words like elfu (1,000) was my mum who was known to some friends as ‘elfie’.  Daft I know but it works for me and it is a method that I have used before.  I won’t even begin to explain how I remember asabuhi (morning).

Tanga again tomorrow to try to draw some badly needed funds from the bank.  I finally managed to transfer money on line and my contact at the bank has emailed to say that it has arrived.  I’ve also got permission from Gladness, the YMCA boss lady, to buy some chicken, so my diet of beef, fish, beef, fish ……….could well be about to be broken.  Apparently chicken is not available in Pangani and she thought little of my suggestion that we got rid of one of the three cockerels that roam the grounds, and reduced the noise of the pre-dawn chorus.

Baadaye (later – and you don’t need to be clever to work out how I learnt that one)

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