Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 16, 2014 - Fundis

Living in East Africa, something you get used to pretty quickly is the constant presence of "fundis".  The word fundi in Kiswahili actually means "technician" I think, but is applied generally to any kind of handy man, skilled (or not so skilled, as the case may be) laborer, day worker.  We use it to talk about the plumber, electrician, carpenter, mechanic, etc.  And because of a lacking or absent proper vocational education system here, you often need a LOT of fundis because quality is not so good and things are often breaking.  Also, you can't buy as many "ready made" things as at home, so you are often hiring people to build or make things for you.

In the last few weeks we've had a number of fundis in our house:  to give us new wireless internet, to reupholster the sofa, to fix the cars, to build Grace and Noah's new bunk beds (coming soon!), and to fix a blown fuse (note that we've had an unusually long stretch with no need for a plumber!).  Of course I have gotten so used to this that it doesn't phase me at all and when we are not home Rose and Christopher are perfectly capable of managing different fundis, but last night I heard Grace's perspective on fundis for the first time.

Situation: the fundi came (during dinner of course) to fix the blown fuse and check other electrical wiring

Grace:  Another fundi is here?

Me:  Yup.

Grace: Why is everything always broken?

Me:  Well, sometimes that just happens and we need different people to help us fix all of the different things.

Grace:  It's too many fundis.  How about for tomorrow and the whole weekend, we have no fundis at all!  I'm tired of all these fundis!

Who knew she had such pent-up fundi aggression!  HA!  I really got a kick out of it.  Not that at home you don't have repairmen or workers around too, but certainly not to the extent or degree that I think we're used to here.  Someday this will be one aspect of Grace's culture shock when we move back to the US or Denmark! But in the meantime, I hope we can honor her request to have a fundi-free weekend.

LMW

2 comments:

Emma Hughes said...

How adorable :)

Mandy Indonesia said...


Hi, I really like your article. I will keep coming here, Thanks