I love learning languages, especially when I travel. Kimeru is the tribal language of the Meru people. Meru could mean Meru province, Meru county, Meru district…
Most kids speak only Kimeru before 3rd grade, at which time they learn Swahili, one of the national languages. By Grade 5, they are also learning English, the other national languages. So knowing Kimeru comes in handy when I am walking in the street and pass someone who is older, or someone who is very young. I also make sure to greet people in Kimeru, even though they know English, because it’s not only respectful, but also way more fun.
I have a Google Document of all of the phrases I’ve learned so far. Neale, who is here from the University of Michigan, sent me a pdf of a LOT of useful phrases, but my list involves only what I have used. By the end of my stay, I hope to have learned all of Neale’s list as well.
Pretty soon, I hope to make a “Matatu for Dummies” document. I’m sure it exists somewhere, but I want to make it specific to the Thiiri Centre so that all of the visitors here can use it! (A matatu is like a Kenyan VW minibus that squishes as many people as possible in it as it barrels down the street like a bullet. Riding one is a life-risk that you have to take in Kenya.)