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Monday, March 1, 2010

Ni kibazo? Si kibazo. Nta kibazo!

Before I left, I printed some Kinyarwandan vocabulary I found online. Today, I was talking to a few of our LCFs (Language and Cultural Facilitators, one of many PC acronyms). One asked how I found Kinyarwanda. Eager to impress, I grinned and declared it Ni kibazo! (Nee CheeBahZo)

That means “No problem!” Or so I thought.

My comment inspired riotous laughter, which is always encouraging when you’re learning a new language, and an emphatic Oya! (Oh-yah) which might sound like agreement but actually means “no.”

Turns out, ni kibazo means “it is a problem.” I was confusing it with si kibazo (See CheeBahZo), which actually means “it is not a problem” in response to something. You can also say nta kibazo (Nhah CheeBahZo) which means “no problem.” Subtle distinctions.

Ni kibazo and si kibazo now pop up frequently in our conversations, to much amusement.

1 comment:

  1. "Nta Kibaso"is what everyone says. The literal translation is "there is no question" in other words "no Problem" "whatever" " it doesn't matter"
    When I was a kid growing up in Rwanda no one evere said it. But now it has become a widely over used catch phrase. You hear it all the time, and when i revisited Rwanda in 2010 I found myself using the phrase even before I was out of the airport.

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