Marahaba = Thank you (while in Kiswahili it is a response to a greeting, “Shikamoo” “Marahaba”)
Lala unono = See you later (while in Kiswahili it means “sleep well”)
Watiti = children (while in Kiswahili the word is watoto)
Fahamu = Listen/Pay attention/be cautious (while in Kiswahil it means “to know”
Fundi = teacher (while in Kiswahili it means “repairman” e.g. carpenter, plumber etc.)
Kizungu = French (while in Kiswahili it means “English”)
This last one in particular fascinated me. I realized kizungu in the Anglophone sense is English, only because the wazungus in our context were British, but in a Francophone sense, kizungu (i.e. the language of the wazungus) would be French while it would be portuguese in a lusophone context.
Someone needs to do a study on coastal people and mysticism. Before we left the hotel at Moheli, I ate breakfast by the beach. There was a certain guy on the beach who looked unstable. The hotel owner told me that he had stolen a mattress from his mother’s house. His mother had then gone to see a witchdoctor to place a curse on whoever stole the mattress -not knowing it was her son. Ever since that day, he had lost his mind. The hotel owner told me he also had a friend who stole a necklace from his own mother because he wanted to sell it and use the money to go to Europe (I’m assuming it was a very expensive necklace.) His stomach started growing and growing – finally he died. I vowed there and then never to steal anything from my mum - and if I did, to make sure she doesn’t go to the witchdoctor.
We left the island of Moheli for Ndzouani on a Sunday morning. We got to the airport at noon even though the flight was at 3pm. It was a long wait. I was pleased to see a female pilot and co-pilot. After the flight I chatted a bit with the pilot and she was actually Kenyan - born and raised in Malindi. On arrival, I met a lady who was half French, half German and I was so excited to speak in German. It had been a while. This was the first time I noticed my French was interfering with my German. It’s as if my mind only has space for one foreign language at a time.
I got to Hotel Papillon (butterfly) and it was ok. I spent the rest of the day resting – discovered our hotel had a bar later on and took the first beer of my time in Comoros. That beer felt so refreshing! You never miss the water till the well runs dry.