Another sound that will stay with me is the gentle sound of one of our camp staff patiently repeating some Swahili for me. He wrote out how to say “good morning,” among other things. However, whenever I tried to use the phrase (habari za ah subui), the response that I got seemed to be more of a question. I began to suspect that I was missing something.
So, this morning when I said it to our driver, Aaron, he gave me the same response and I had to ask him what he was saying. He told me that what I was really saying was something like “how are you this morning?” Obviously, a response is required and it is something like “fine and how are you?’ Equally obviously, I need to respond to that and I wasn’t; so, the chances are that everyone was looking at me expecting the appropriate response and, not getting it, probably thought I was just about as smart as a big dumb wildebeest. I now know the key.