Hamjambo wanafunzi. Karibuni Kiswahili.Hello Students. Welcome to Swahili.
Kiswahili is spoken by the seventh largest group of people in the world. It, along with English, is the trade language of East Africa, as well as other countries such as the Congo, Rwanda, Malawi, Burundi and others. It is the only black African language taught at Baylor. As Africa becomes more important to America, you find a greater number of people, tourists, short term missionaries working on church projects, Peace Corps as well as business people going to these countries which use Kiswahili. The language, along with the culture, is taught, allowing us to become acquainted with another area of the world. There is a growing number of Swahili speakers coming to America. Dallas alone has about 7,000 such speakers.
One Student's Story
After having studied the Swahili language for one year, Matt Henry went on a summer mission trip to Tanzania. Being encouraged to take three or more weeks to become comfortable with the language, he found that one week was enough, and he began to work constructing churches. Because of his language skills and knowledge of the culture, he came to be accepted by the Masai living in a ‘boma’ close to his tent. On his seventh and last night to camp there, he was invited by three Masai boys to go hunting at night with spears and bows and arrows. A spear was made for Matt, and off they went hunting antelope in lion country. After walking for a couple of hours, the student asked the Masai if there were, in fact, any lions in the area. Their reply was, “We have been followed by them for the last hour.” Sometime later the foursome returned with enough meat for a feast the next day in their boma. This young man was afforded the experience of a lifetime, primarily because he had studied the Swahili language and culture.