Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How Uganda has won the War in Iraq

Jambo

Thanks to Kerrie, for a correction , the term is "Jambo"

The odds are that most US servicemen serving in Iraq will come home with a better grasp of Swahilli than Arabic. Despite the fact that Arabic is the language of Iraq, very few soldiers will actually meet an Iraqi in the big picture. Whilst they will meet Ugandans a minimum of three times a day, upon which they will utter "Jambo"

The simple fact is that a private security company has won the contract for all bases in Iraq for guards. When you arrive at any base the first person you will meet is odds on to be Ugandan, want to eat today, well guess who checks your credentials to get into the DFAC (thats army slang for food hall) need anything from the PX (again me showing off my vast knowledge of military terminology - the PX is the shop on the bases where you can buy anything from chewing gum to tampons to televisions and of course pouches for your ammunition clips)

Want to shop? well the Ugandans are there to check you. And man do they check always with a smile. If you do not have the right card then it is easier to argue with a brick wall.

To give you an example of the power they can wield, we were coming back from a Special Forces mission flying thru the streets of Baghdad at four in the morning wielding more guns than most small countries have, when we came to the entrance of the Green Zone in downtown Baghdad, we planned to drive thru to return to base. Well the convoy stopped at the gate and because the Ugandan on the gate had not been told we were coming he was not going to let us in. Let me say that the Special Forces did not take to this kindly and it took ten minutes of artful negotiations before they let us pass.

Thus Uganda can claim to be the most powerful nation in Iraq , you cannot enter or leave without them approving, want to eat or shop for toothpaste and washing powder the keepers of the gate determine who may pass.

and "JAMBO" well that is swahilli for Hello

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I too often use the word Jumbo, Mr. James, at the local Jack-in-the-Box. "One Jumbo". And sometimes if they don't screw the order up, I actually get a JUMBO. I had no idea I was speaking Swahili. Possibly the reason the illegal immigrant taking my order did not understand. And all the time I thought it was my accent. It definitely is a shrinking world....isn't it Mr. James. I myself am considering going back to sending smoke signals to communicate or possibly just never leaving this God forsaken canyon I live in ever again. At least we know that we are safe from being attacked by special forces when the Ugandeees are on guard...don't we Mr. James. I found your shopping list at the PX....interesting. You definitely are an unusual man, Mal. And if PX stands for Post Exchange...why isn't it PE? I admire your grasp of languages and Military abreviations. My inability to grasp such things quickly the way you can may explain why I am not allowed to do the exciting things that you get to do in life. On the other hand I am not so sure than being a slow learner where these things are concerned is not sometimes benificial. On the serious side...a very interesting blog and it proves that surviving in Iraq is still no walk in the park nor is it a place where things necessairly make sense....at least to someone like me who hasn't been there. Thanks for the walk in your shoes. Since I don't know for sure how to say Good Bye in Ugandinese....let me give it my best shot....Hold the tomato..
Annie

Kerri said...

I hate to burst the bubble, but it's actually "Jambo".

Rebeccaisaugust said...

Goodbye in Luganda is Weraba, pronounced Welaba.

Rebeccaisaugust said...

Ugandans in Iraq from southern Uganda, in Kampala. They don't speak Kiswahili, they speak Luganda, one of Uganda's many languages. Kiswahili has been largely phased out throughout Uganda. Anyway, the phrase Jambo is not actually by Swahili speakers, it's a tourist word that means hello. Even greeting people with "Jambo" in Swahili-speaking countries like Kenya and Tanzania will earn you some laughter. Try greeting the Ugandan guards with "oli otya," which means how are you in Luganda.

Rebecca said...

Rebecca,
I have you know that I work with the Ugandans in Iraq everyday of the week 8 hours a day.. And yes most of them are from Kampala, but they speak Swahili.. They are teaching us so much.. I read your comment and asked them about it and they all said no, that they speak Swahili.. It is not being phased out.. I think that you should know what you are talking about before you start posting nonsense.. Do you personally know these Ugandans from kampala or are you just talking out of your butt.. They said that you are crazy... And i think that they know what language that they speak much better than you do.

Candia John said...

The word Jambo is as common here in Iraq as the grains of dust this summer,iam glad iam a Jambo,the same same(how we call the Asians working here in Iraq)are always left envious b'se we command 'big' respect.

Anonymous said...

Jambo to all,Rebecca got it wrong,oli otya is a luganda word(s),and all p'ple in Uganda don't speak luganda,so swahili unites all.Iam proud and happy to have worked alongside U.S military and civilians alike.The best part, the Army or Marine corps gives the specific post,special or standing orders and nobody goes agains them thus regardless of rank,race,gender or nationality thus respect to guardforce.Peace and love.