Next Steps: Learning Swahili

Our living room

As the dust is settling from the move, the realization that I actually live in Africa now and will need to be making some sort of a long-term living here is starting to sink in.

And it’s great! I feel a great sense of freedom in the starting over – that I get to imagine what I’d like to contribute here and then figure out what immediate, practical next steps to take towards making that contribution.

As of today it looks something like: I want to write custom software for local organizations along with one Tanzanian fellow. I don’t even know if those organizations or that fellow exist yet–in particular, in his case, I’ll most likely be hanging around technical schools looking to teach as a way to meet / train / on-the-sly interview people.

But one concrete thing I can do now is learn Swahili, and so I am. Come January I’ll have a tutor, but in the meantime I’m putting myself through a chapter a day of Simplified Swahili. I’m finding the grammar quite easy, so I’m spending the bulk of my efforts on making and reviewing flash cards. There was an initial ego-hurdle to get over there, realizing that I’d have to spend most of my time in bulky memorization, but already I’m seeing it pay off in terms of being able to understand more of what people say.

And it was fun to say to a friend the other day, “Ninataka kujifunza kwa sababu ninapenda Vale sana.”