Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Today was a day of laughter.

I am learning that a good way to accept aspects of a culture that drives you crazy a lot of times, is to laugh about it. Instead of complaining that kids are rude and yell “White person!” at you as you walk down the street, or that even businesses can’t spell correctly, make it a joke and let it roll off your shoulders.

Thinks kids say here that can get annoying (my dad pointed out the irony that after talking about misspellings, I write "thinks" instead of "things." Sometimes you have to laugh at yourself too!):

As the truck is driving by and the kids are coming up to the window with their hands out, “How are you sweeeeet?”

Meaning, “I’m greeting you, but all I really want is for you to give me a sweet (lollipop).”

“Mzungu!” Meaning, “White person.” Like walking around in the US and instead of calling out to someone politely, they’d say, “Hey you, black guy!” Nice right?

Or another good one, “Give me something!” “Kitu kidogo!” They don’t ask. They tell.

Today we learned a retaliation to these. Instead of just saying, “Hapana,” No, when someone yells “Mzungu,” we can yell back “Mwafrika!” African! Pronounced Mwah-FREAKA!

On the way home from the farm today, some kids ran up beside the truck and started yelling, “Sweet! Sweet!” meaning they wanted a lollipop. I yelled out my open window, “Hapana!” He retaliated, “Mzungu!” Using this wonderful chance to apply my new word, I yelled back, “Mwafrika!” I’m pretty sure he didn’t know what to say or do after that.

Everyone in the truck, including my dad’s Kenyan friend Bosco, had a good laugh.

Another amazing laughable moment was at the same time we learned about Mwafrika. Mom and I were sitting in the truck laughing about that word when I looked over at the general store and where it was supposed to say, “Plumbing materials,” it read, “Plumping materials.” Mom and I burst out laughing wondering what exactly they were plumping and what materials were necessary to do so.

Sometimes you just have to laugh about these things.


  1. that plumping could be some new botox technology -- buy as much as you can and bring it back to'll make a killing! :) love that you guys are finding the humor in the ridiculous. I try to do that daily here in the US -- we have just as nutty, inappropriate, inconsiderate nonsense here that simply deserves a laugh. -- AP

  2. Thanks so much, your blog is really encouraging to me! There are some things that are hard to understand from this culture.