Wednesday, October 31, 2007

ninakuona kama pweza kukujibu sitoweza

: i see you like an octopus- able, i am not to speak to you.
i won't see angela again :(

YES. awesome. "kangas" are african cloths with patterns and traditional sayings, or "learning" sayings. women sometimes use them for making clothe-eds, but mostly wear them wrapped around their other clothes, their waists, shoulders, heads sometimes. they are good for spreading knowledge, so i am told.
mostly they say sweet things or godly things, but often there are absolutely ridiculous things-- that is completely unfair. they say ridiculous things to an mzungu that doesn't know the truth about life, or kiswahili. but i still love them. i've been seeking funny ones, but it is hard to explain to someone that you want a kichaa kanga. kichaa, after all, is a rather bad description only now rampant in kiwakkuki, not in most of moshi. "funny" or faraha doesn't really translate either. i kept getting "god love us" or "good friendship is beautiful"

that is not funny. this is funny: Chokochoko mchokoe pweza, binadamu hutamweza If you want to poke (provoke) someone, then poke an octopus; you will fail with a human being
i found a list of translations on line with some absolutely fabulous kangas. there are so many great ones it is hard to choose a favorite, but this is def one of them:
Siku ya kufa nyani miti yote huteleza The day a monkey is destined to die, all trees are slippery.

Valentina took me around town last week to find these fabulous kangas from my long print out. it was, well, an experience. i was happy to bring laughter to town that morning. every place we went vale would yell out the kiswahili and laugh hysterically and then everyone would laugh at me back. but sadly my kanga translations were from about 20 years ago. :( POLE! no one in town had them any more. we even wrote some of them down for a man to look in dar, but no luck.

in the meantime i also went to one of our favorite cloth shops and tried to beg him for funny kangas. no real luck. though he whispered that a while ago he, and everyone in town, had gotten a shipment of kangas that said--and he lowered his voice further- "if you cover your genitals, you will never have children" shocking. i think that one is pretty fabulous. but for all my begging he swore he, and everyone in town, had sent them all back to the manufacturer, they were just too risque for moshi. oh well. i did pick out a couple of somewhat funny ones, including
Jogoo la shamba haliwiki mjini
a country cock doesn't crow in town. made me think of ny.

but the best bit, is that mr. shaw mistranslated one of the kangas. he had told me something rather lame, even though the dada working for him had pulled it out thinking it was funny. i bought it anyway, feeling guilty for having them search through everything. after having a skirt made from it, i forgot the translation, so this weekend, after scouring my dictionary with no success, finally asked greg for what my skirt says: ninakuona kama pweza kukujibu sitoweza ~ i see you like an octopus- able, i am not to speak to you.
fabulous. i will wear it to the airport!

sneaky! last night under my net

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