Recently by Frank Bures:

   

Picture, if you will, a tall man walking around Athens. He is staring at the buildings, unable to read the signs. He has only a vague idea of where he is. He has a wild mane of graying hair poking out from under his Gatsby cap, and he would never be mistaken for a Greek.

He’s my father-in-law.

This was some years ago. He told us the story later: A man approached him and introduced himself. He said he’d lived in the United States and wanted to practice his English. My father-in-law said he was in a hurry, but the man insisted on buying him a drink. So he shrugged and went along to a little bar around the corner.

They talked for a few minutes. Then a couple of women joined them,… More…

It was getting dark. Paulo had been walking with me for half an hour. He’d invited me to dinner at his house, up near Mount Meru, and now we were going back down the dusty road to my neighborhood in Arusha, Tanzania. I wondered when he would turn around. I kept telling him I knew the way. But he kept walking.

 

“It’s OK,” he said. “I can escort you.”

The last thing I needed was an escort. I enjoyed walking by myself. But I didn’t realize how much had been lost in translation between Paulo’s chosen English word, “escort,” and the Swahili word for what he meant, kusindikiza.

In my dictionary, kusindikiza signified “to see someone off’ or ‘to accompany someone part of the way home.” I had read these definitions, but I didn’t really understand them. Why… More…