Naskia s’ku’izi tunaitwanga ma-odinari. Ai … lakini si hiyo ni jina ya tene kiasi … miaka ka’a ngovo hivi.

Dude, I am old.

No, I will not even pretend to attempt further. For me, speaking sheng’ means substituting Anglicized words for Swahili, adding -ing, and occasionally throwing in ‘authentic’ words like ashu, Kingoso, and anchwanimbee. It’s a number. Possibly 300.

But the main problem with being a baabi [is that even how it’s spelt? I refuse to believe it ignites from Barbie]… the main problem with being a baabi isn’t the language, it’s the taste.

It’s not so much that you call it a mat rather than a matatu [or worse, a ma-three!] It’s that you’d rather use the Smartbus, or drive. It’s not that you say 5 reds and 3 Gees instead of soo tano na ngiri. It’s that you have no problem spending said Gees on, oh, I don’t know, original DVDs?

Today my odinari-ness led to a rather interesting day. See, I am looking for three things. A windchime, an hourglass, and a digs for Agnes and Fluffer McKitty.

I love windchimes. They have this happy, happy jingling sound. I especially like the shiny metallic ones that clink like little silver bells. I’ve seen them in many different houses, but those were always gifts, so they have no clue where to buy them. I asked. Severally.

Oh, and Aggie and Fluffer are fish. Possibly goldfish.


The problem wasn’t so much the finding of the windchimes. Well actually, yes, it was. But more than that was the look  I got every time I said the word windchime. Nobody knew what it meant, so I had to describe, in Swa. Mostly, broken Swa. With gestures.

Yes, my Swa is broken again. **grin**

Hizo vitu una-hang kwa roof alafu wind iki-blow zinapiga kelele.

One lady had a stall with chandeliers [on Tom Mboya! I’m still wondering who buys chandeliers out of a stall on Tom Mboya.] She looked at me like I’d lost my head – pretty much the same way I was looking at said lady, whose stall sells chandeliers! On Tom Mboya! Perhaps I should have just said ‘chandelier’. Just for effect.

Another lady asked if I was referring to a doorbell. An attendant at card centre stared at me blankly. No one had any suggestions on where I could get one.

So. Does anyone know where I can get an hourglass and windchimes? I’m easy on the home for Agnes…

Closing time Semisonic

4 thoughts on “Shida ya kuwa baabi

  1. CB you got me laughing n am sorry havent got a clue where u can get a windchime, how about u trying to make one?

    that’s an idea…

    Must admit my SWA is broken but under pressure I do manage unbroken sentences

  2. And every time I read about language misunderstanding in Nairobi it reminds me that I have to learn afresh. My sheng’ is so outdated, but I think I will catch on quickly. And no, I have never even seen a wind chime and wouldn’t know where to find one.

    Found ’em

    Can see you got yourself a non-wordpress website, let me check it out.

  3. 🙂 My fellow baabi

    I wouldnt even know how to describe the kugongana na kupiga kelele… Everytime i speak to a colleague in swa/sheng she thinks im still speaking english and gets confused… so i just stoped trying…

    The little jewellery like stores inside the nakumatts have pretty cool wind chimes (esp Nakumatt Junction) – and i think Enkarasha as well…

    Cool !

    Im clueless on the hourglass 🙁

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