A while back I posted about one of my fav words in Kiswahili: kupiga. Last week Jason learned yet another thing you can kupiga (or literally “hit”). A fart. Awesome. Seriously Awesome.
the back story…..he arrived home after visiting our neighbors and was laughing so hard he could barely talk. I kept asking him what was so funny and all he could get out was “I need a pen.” I quickly discovered was that he wanted to quickly write down the words he had just learned lest they slip away from his Mzungu brain (as most of the words we learn do). After writing them down he said a couple of sentences to Marta (our house helper) who started dying laughing. At this point I was beginning to get irritated as I was definitely on the outside of an apparently hilarious joke. J finally explained that while talking to our neighbors the father explained that his kids really wanted to learn some English but they did not have enough money to send any of them to school. Jason started teaching the kids a few words in English and when they pointed to his shoes Jason said “shoes.” All the kids started laughing hysterically and their father soon explained why by making a farting noise and waving his hand near his bootay that a “shuzi” was a fart. And you kupiga it as in “nimepiga shuzi“. Brilliant. After more laughter they also explained that there are 3 words to describe this universal human bodily function. “jamba” is to fart with noise and……are you ready?…..”fusa” is to fart with “hakuna sauti lakini harufu mbaya” literally=no voice but a bad smell. Does it get better than a word for S.B.D.? I know this may be in poor taste to some (but if so you probably already do not frequent this blog) but in a world of sometimes frustrating language learning this was a jewel. Hilarious.
Even more funny if you picture this older respectable man acting out and describing the meaning of these words. He also told Jason that we now know “school Kiswahili” but now it is time for us to learn the real deal Kiswahili and he considers it his personal mission to help us. Bring it on!
Jason and I now frequently dare each other to shout in public places “nani akafusa?” (who hit a S.B.D?) I know, we really are children.
But for the record: farts are funny. Even cross culturally.