Friday, June 08, 2007

Speaking Hausa in a public place

As I was shopping yesterday with my sister and sister-in-law (looking for fancy outfits for my sister's dissertation in two weeks), I got a phone call from Yaronbaba.


I haven't had much time lately and have been thinking about calling him a number of times, but just haven't found the opportunity. Then he calls me from Nigeria! A friend of his (or could it be his former boss?) introduced himself in English, saying that he was calling for YB, and that he would "now be passing on the phone". My first thought was something close to panic, realizing that I haven't spoken Hausa for so long! I was certain that I wouldn't be able to express myself. But the words came back quickly enough and I did a fairly good job.

We passed greetings, talked about the horses, about work, about tiredness, then advancing to when he would be going back to Zinder. On a more advanced level: I let him know that Ali was currently not in Zinder taking care of the mares, which YB was under the impression that he was. He promised me he would be back first thing after the races on Sunday. It was fun talking to him, fun hearing his voice again, and even more fun was realising that everybody was staring at me, trying to comprehend what foreign language I was talking in!

When I came back in the evening, I was really pleased. Not only did my sister find a great outfit; my not-so-rich jockey used his own money to call me; just to make sure that everything was alright and that the relationship was still going strong. Relationships in Africa are so important; I'm just so glad to see when I'm not the only one making an effort and when people actually invest their time and money just to bond - not to ask for anything.

Ishtar

4 comments:

photogchic said...

Ishtar...teach us to say something in Hausa. I have will have to see if I can hear the language somewhere on the internet.

Ishtar said...

I actually thought about starting to post little Hausa lessons as I learn more myself!

Here's a starter:

Sanu = Hi
Ina wuni? = How are you?
Sey anjima! = Bye ("see you another time")

suleiman said...

Bravodo!, its amusing you enjoy Hausa land, but there is one thing missing...you need to come to the biggest city of Hausa civilization, none other than; Jalla Babbar Hausa, KANO ta dabo, tunbin giwa, yaro ko da mai kazo anfika. Gari ba Kano ba jejin Allah.

Ishtar said...

Hi Suleiman!

Seeing that you are just a Kano-fan, you should see my two posts about this metropolis:

http://ishtarnews.blogspot.com/2006/10/back-in-niger.html
http://ishtarnews.blogspot.com/2006/11/back-in-kano.html

I know Kano is the great "father" of Hausaland, but the thing is, it's too big for me. I like the small lifestyle, tucked away far into the Nigerien outback!

Take care,
Ishtar