Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Swahili Proverbs

We spent the past weekend in Nairobi, so I thought this moment opportune to share a choice excerpt from a note I recently received from a friend:

He writes:
"I thought it would be helpful to pass along some kiswahili proverbs you can use on a daily basis as you help make bananas more profitable. unfortunately i couldn't find the proverbial translation for "daylight come and me wanna go home"...

"Fimbo iliyo mkononi ndiyo iuwayo nyoka: Stick that is in the hand is the one that kills the snake" (who even knew you could kill a snake with a stick? that kicks ass)

"Simba mwendapole ndie mla nyama: A lion that walks quietly is the one that eats meat" (it's a real rainforest out there)

"Jembe lisilo na mpini halilimi: A spade without a handle does not plough" (i don't get it...must be an inside joke)

"Mchagua jembe si mkulima: He who differentiates between spades is not a farmer" (man, they're really into spades over there. you should probably make sure the banana growers are using more high-tech implements)

and my personal favorite,

"Mkono mmoja haupigi makofi: One hand (alone) cannot clap" (they totally stole that from the show "kung fu")

Thanks to the source, who shall remain anonymous, for providing such priceless nugs of wisdom and for making this entry virtually effortless. My own personal fave? "A man without a donkey is donkey"...if you ever go to Lamu, you will understand

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Islamic Hamptons: A weekend in Lamu

This weekend, we jetted off a four day holiday in Lamu, or more accurately, Shella (a small beach town just 4km down shore). In these highly religious, quasi-medieval villages, donkeys and dhows are the only form of transport (as cars are not allowed), ancient buildings and streets are carved from local coral, and most women don the traditional Muslim head coverings, some baring only their eyes...needless to say, we fit right in!
We were even invited, on several occasions to stay longer in the land where camels roam the beach (and where Princess Grace of Monaco has built a beach side villa)--Brian was honored for his skills on the dhow's trapeze, and I for my steering in short short skirts!