Day 11 – An idiot’s guide to teaching cricket in Kiswahili

Today we completed our fourth and final coaching day in Murang’a and now have a cricket festival involving four schools to look forward to tomorrow. Whilst we have visited some fantastic schools in Murang’a, the standard of English has generally been lower than what we were used to in Kericho and Nakuru. Therefore, to help any of our readers who are considering volunteering for CWB in Kenya, we have put together an idiot’s guide to teaching cricket in Kiswahili. Read on to become fully qualified.

The first, last, and most frequent word you will hear:

Mzungu – white person or, literally, ‘someone who roams around aimlessly’
  • As a group of six white volunteers who tend to wander around aimlessly, there has been no hiding from this word. Be prepared for all children to shout this as your bus drives through their village, even after two solid weeks of tanning…
The six mzungus

The six mzungus

The essentials:

Jambo – hello Karibu – welcome
Jina langu ni… – my name is… Sawa – okay
Asante – thank you Asante sana – thank you very much
Pole – sorry Kwaheri – goodbye

Slang to sound ‘down with the kids’:

Mambo – hi/how are you? Poa – cool
  • Shout ‘Mambo!’ to a huge group of kids and they’ll all reply with ‘poa’ – an incredibly useful tactic for attracting their attention.
'Mambo!' 'Poa!'

‘Mambo!’ ‘Poa!’

Cricket specific:

Rusha – throw/bowl Shika – catch
Chapa – hit Kimbia – run
Haraka – quick Mpira chini – ball down

Crowd control:

Kuja hapa – come here Simama hapa – stand here
Kwenda – let’s go Sindio – understand?

A simple way to entertain young children:

You: ‘Nyama, nyama, nyama’ – meat, meat, meat
Kids: ‘Nyama!’ – meat!
You: ‘Nyama kuku’ – chicken meat
Kids: ‘Nyama!’ – meat!
You: ‘Nyama mzungu’ – white person meat
Kids: ‘Si nyama!’ – not meat!
  • If they say ‘Nyama!’ then you should be worried. Probably avoid coaching them.


HIV key words:

Wajiepushe – abstain Kuwa mwaminifu – be faithful
Kondomu – condom Kupima – testing

Essential after a tiring day of coaching:

Moja baridi Tusker tafadhali – one cold Tusker please
One comment to “Day 11 – An idiot’s guide to teaching cricket in Kiswahili”
  1. hehehe I can’t stop laughing at the last bit of it.”nyama ya mzungu”if they say nyama then you should be worried.thanks guys for the hard work with all the barriers including language and accessibility you managed still.”kazi poa” that means cool work

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