I can tell already that there will be times when I’ll struggle to come up with a good topic to blog about. Also, there have already been some things that I’ve thought are pretty interesting, but perhaps don’t merit a full post. Accordingly, I’m gonna steal from The Onion’s AV Club, and periodically put up “stray observations”, various things that I think are interesting/amusing/depressing/worth mentioning.
Have there ever been times when you’ve been walking along, not having a fantastic day, and you see someone you know but that isn’t a great friend, and they say, “Hey, how are you?” And then there’s the internal dialogue of “should I really discuss with them how I have a bunch of work to do and a test today that I haven’t studied for?” or “do they really want to hear that I have a slight cold, but that it’s nothing too serious?” Usually I just say “good,” ask them how they are, and move on.
Well Swahili, and therefore Kenyans in general take that idea a step further. I recently learned that in Swahili, when someone asks you how you are, by saying “Hujambo?” (literally, “there is nothing the matter with you?” it is considered rude to really say anything other than that you are good. It is only later in the conversation, if you get that far, that you can tell them how you really are. I recently heard a conversation where one person asked another how another person, and they replied “good” before revealing later in the conversation that the person was very sick and couldn’t leave the home. While I think most people in the States would say “good” if someone asked them in most cases, I found it amusing that in Kenya, it’s to the point of being an institutionalized rule that you shouldn’t say anything else.
Getting to know Kenyan music
My “knowledge”of Kenyan music thus far is really bizarre. The office where I work has a window that my co-workers and I usually keep open, and a store down below is often playing music. Also, there is this phenomenon in Nanyuki at least where trucks have massive speakers on them, and the trucks drive slowly through town blaring music, often for an advertisement or campaign of sorts. I can sort of hear the music, but it’s all really muffled in our office. Accordingly, there are several songs (probably somewhere in the 5-10 range) that are played all the time, and that I have come to recognize the tune. However, I can’t ever actually fully know the music, to the point where I don’t really know a single lyric. So I recognize a lot of what I assume is Kenyan pop, but I really couldn’t tell you any of the words.
Nairobi this weekend!
I’m headed down to Nairobi later today to visit a couple friends and fellow Hoyas. Other than my first night in a hotel and a bus ride through the city, it’ll be my first time in Nairobi, so I’m excited to check it out, and fully embrace my inner-tourist.