Ninaka Willow Street.

If I translated this into Swahili correctly, this means “I live on Willow Street.”  In Swahili the verb “-kaa” means to live, to dwell, to stay.  When speaking with Tanzanians, I learned the customary way of asking this question in English was, “where do you stay?”  I always found this odd, “stay” sounding like a relatively impermanent arrangement when talking about where people lived.  Arguably not for interlopers like myself, but certainly when I was posing the question rather than answering it. 

Yet, I’ve found this phrasing to be depressingly appropriate in post-Katrina NOLA.  “Where do you stay?” reflects the impermanence of so many dislocated residents, living usually with or near relatives, still after all this time.  And like in Dar, where I live in NOLA  – still as an interloper – sounds like a much comfier and swankier arrangement than those described to me. 


1 Response to “Ninaka Willow Street.”

  1. June 15, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    I don’t know about the rest of your audience, but I need more material! 😉

    Big brother is watching!

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