Yesterday for kiswahili class we took a daladala to Mwenge (a market) with the assignment to practice bargaining and learn the names of things that are sold there. I wandered into the wood carver’s market, and got a tour of the back where all the work takes place. It was very cool–a whole bunch of people, mostly men, sitting on the ground soaking, chiseling, and sanding ebony wood. The ebony trees come from a region in (I think) northern Tanzania, and are white on the outside but deep brown (ebony) on the inside. The figurines and jewelry they make are beautiful. I made friends with a guy named Maurice, who I commissioned to make me a wooden sign that says my name–Furaha. Using my freshly-learned vocabulary, I talked him down to a third of the price he originally gave. The market is quite the practical classroom!
Furaha, my name. It developed quite naturally. Every time I introduce myself to locals, they think I am saying “Happy”, so I’ve adopted Furaha, the word for “happiness” in Swahili. I’m told it’s fitting to my personality too, and I would agree–I have little reason not to have a lot of Furaha here!
I also bought some fabric and took it to a tailor’s to have a kanga made for me. I’m not really sure how well I communicated the style I want, so we’ll see what comes back. The fabric here is beautiful!