Useful Kenyan phrases and their English interpretations
This is not a phrase book for Kiswahili or Luo, but rather a guide to English phrases that our Kenyan friends use that may be easily misinterpreted.
It is a good road. There may be some tarmac, but it will also have potholes/crazy traffic and will probably mainly be a dirt track, possibly even deteriorating into something more like a muddy footpath
It is not far. It is a long way
I am coming. Your phone call has reminded me that I should have come to see you some time ago. I will proceed in my own good time
I am now coming. Precisely as above
I am on my way. I am waiting at the side of the road for a matatu and have no idea when I will arrive
I will be with you soon. Precisely as above
I will be with you at 9. I might arrive by 11, but it might be in the afternoon, or tomorrow or the next day, or not at all
We will be passing by my sister’s house. We will stop for at least 2 hours at my sister’s house where we will meet all the neighbours, friends and relatives who live in the area and have a large meal.
She lives on the other side. She lives somewhere else. Could be the other side of the road, but not necessarily.
We are through. We have finished the job, or the meeting
We are nearly through. The meeting will last at least another hour
I believe we are through. The meeting is over (apart from recapping, summing up, thanking everyone again and doing a few other things that had previously been forgotten). This will probably take another hour
The Church service will be very simple, very brief. The Church service will only last three hours. Negotiating a Luo Church service in ‘the rural’ is very much like climbing a mountain with many false peaks when you have no map: you have no idea where you are and you keep thinking you have reached the end – but you haven’t!
I’m sure those of you who have experience of Kenya or, no doubt, other African countries, can add to this list!
Proper update of our news to follow later in the week!