Greetings in Swahili could easily go on for the first five minutes of a conversation, it's just one of the cultural things you get used to out here in Tanzania.
They include ... 'How are you?', 'How are your children/husband/wife?', 'How is your home?', 'How is your work?', 'How are you since yesterday?', 'How is your morning/afternoon/evening?'! The list goes on. Usually at least three are used in each direction ... it wouldn't be right to start on the real conversation until this part has been completed!
Thankfully for Mark, who doesn't know too much Swahili YET ... the response for all of them is the same. Just one word 'Nzuri' or 'good'.
I have been meeting up with lots of people over the last few weeks, some that I know well and some that I am just getting to know. Having these greetings already in my Swahili repertoire has helped a lot!
Of course at some point in most conversations I've had, I've also had to introduce myself ... whether to people I knew before or to the new faces.
I have been called many different things by different people over the years. Last time I was in Dodoma as a young single girl, I was Jenny to some and Miss Hadlow to others.
This time round I come with a family and so it's different. I am still Jenny to some (my ex-pat friends), I don't think I've yet to introduce myself as Mrs Beckwith to anyone ... but to Tanzanians, my name is Mama Abigail (pronounced Abi-gay-lee).
Here in East Africa, children are considered a real blessing and it is questioned if you are not married or don't have them. Mothers and Fathers are called after their eldest child, it is respectful. So we are Mama na Baba Abigaylee! Already it is slowly becoming a name I am learning to use and respond to.
Naomi is also getting used to the new pronunciation of her name. We've heard different versions of it ever since she was born from ... Neigh-Oh-Me, Neigh-Ah-Me to Nigh-Oh-Me. Here in Tanzania she is known Nah-Oh-Me ... but to us most of the time she is stil Nomi, a name her big sister used shortly after she was born and has stuck with the rest of us ever since!