The Somali merchant woman spoke the Anyuak words without spoiling them, without breaking them. without difficulty pronouncing them, I tell you the truth I was impressed delighted, challenged with how wrong I was in my thinking of " me, me not you " world views, a dangerous world view championed by most elites or petty bourgeoisie cultural icons.
Of course the Somali merchant woman, narrative about engaging the world with such tool as language, mastering other languages than hers was a big lesson for all of us. I promised myself " then for more of my trips to Ethiopia now, in the future." And prior to this encounter I had also admiration for Somalis who were friends to me back in the days while I was a MA student at Minnesota State University Mankato USA. And those days I had a good relation with them all, they were friendly, approachable, understanding, I may say down to earth people, straight, frankly speaking people. In my views their ways of approaching, engaging people of different faith, cultures are example of good social engineering. The world would be much more better with good exchanges of interrelationship of diverse cultures.
Look Anyuak are tiny minority in Ethiopia but to have some people spoke their language as far as people from Somali community in the midst of trade, commercial transaction is amazing, it meant a lot in the globalization paradigm. The world according Thomas Friedman has become " flat, narrow, shallow, linked without difficulties than ever before. He said countries, individuals; companies are becoming more competitive for market share, geographical separations, borderlines demarcations he postulates were things of the past, irrelevant, obstacles to globalization moves.
I find Somalis I met, interacted with very fast, smart, quick learner of something foreign to their language. Folks, I have doubt of the globalization effect, globalization now, with its tentacles stretched out had already reached the remotest corner of planet, it has been real evident that the world is becoming one via communication, technological break through, both tools, others have narrowed the gaps before our very own eyes . One finds nomadic tribes travelling by camels saying " hello-hello on the phone they carries throughout deserts of the world, my friends who will doubt the narrative put forward by others, again like Thomas Friedman who describes the world as flat, narrow, bridgeable that the world have become one, shallow, short reachable by any means.
I believe language as many social scientists would tell us is the main focal point to bridging the divides between different cultures, outlooks. It is a wonderful tool made available to us by the creator; we should be trying to learn each other languages for, dialogues, communication, fun, love, peaceful coexistence. It is important we know each other’s languages, fun to know other people languages for the sake of getting along. The world is becoming too small we had to be prepared, equipped ourselves with languages around for the purposes of linking people together through communication.
I understand more than never before that knowing another language in our lives is imperative, important tool for understanding, and engagements between people of divers cultures. The believe that communication blows away misunderstanding, misinterpretation; ill-perception, misconception about others is truer than never before. It makes people feel more wanted, closer, important. I think in a mac-world we are heading into we shouldn't limits ourselves to our narrow world of localities. I think we should expand our thinking, dip ourselves into language pools. You see I am from one of those minorities whose lives are remote from national spotlights, where their numbers statistically don't even count; typically demographers count them as others.
But despite all barriers of remoteness, I found my language spoken in commercial transaction; I was surprised, at the same times astonished by the situation. It was one of the phenomenal thing I would never think could occur in my life time, but it did. Folks you don't understand how important I felt that day with my ego ballooned, from decade of dead self-esteem, rejections, denials. I was morally boosted, spirited again, I rekindled self-worthiness, my soul raised to a better feeling of being important, dejected from isolationism of the bourgeoisie culture.
So I considered myself lucky, paramount, important, honored, and respected, like someone who had discovered an area of gold mine to himself. You see this phenomenon happened in the midst trade where I was buying whole sale clothing to take to my people, distribute them free to fatherless kids. I am a king my world of Ajumhara, of Gambella, as the Indian taxi drive from New York once asked about how he felt coming to his people he said " well here I am treated like a king with all the love I am given, no amount of money can buy but there in New York I am nobody, I am just a taxi driver with no significant."
I think I bought as much clothing as I can, I was telling this merchant woman I want this, I want that, I need more of this and that, top it on with sashay or handkerchiefs, those body creams there. I had one of my company telling me those are enough from her, I think we should go to a different merchant, you never know some might lower the commodity prices for you, I said okay, but would they merchants over there speak Anyuak to us, they say no, than I am not going I think I better spent all the money I want to spend on this shop whose owner so nice, eager to speak our language voluntarily, without difficulty. Do you know what it means? It means that she/he or husband had accepted us as equal as important partners in trade, commercial transaction we have been doing with her,
One has to be careful with trade or commerce in our African culture, what do I meant by that? I mean one had to established a working relationship first, foremost, because working relationship has more valued in all our African culture, it is important than money. One has to establish relation and our community has done that homework best for ourselves. Now it is up to us to accelerate the dynamic, make it glamorous, enjoyable.
We must be very careful in dealing with merchants in markets here or anywhere else. They are not all good as one might have thoughts so. And markets as we all know have been marred with volatility. Although markets have been self regulators in Africa, had good reputations but in them one finds many more obstacles: thieves, cheaters, blackmailers, false traders I told them let's not go there, let's save ourselves from risks, here at least we know somebody, when we find something unsatisfactory we tell her/him her husband in the language we all know " nya nye watwa agena-agno ne motwani en " you my friend why did you cheated us with this " we would tell her/he in a manners of a joke minding the important our relationship first, not the friction.
It should be a challenges that comes in a friendly manners which is good business. It is a mechanism used throughout the world of commerce to solving problems through: dialogues = effective communication= positive relations = no frictions, It is a win-win situation without hurting each other playing field? I think we all agreed to spent our money where everybody knows our names. Good, fair, excellent for business
Conclusion: If anyone goes, to everyplace where everyone knows his /her name, there's lesser chances of running into troubles.The Luo people in Ethiopia have not yet reached that apogee of political, economic, social development they wanted but have been charging system enough not to be forgotten like numbers, pushing to reach highest height through education, bringing a recognition they deserved to their names. The Anyuak were/are saying we are one in this world, this world is mine, and yours also it was the most reading I saw from faces that were interacting with each other that day.