Moment #432. Somali at grocery. Fri, Sep 30, 2005.
09/30/2005. This is perhaps another example of "even when it's wrong, it's right." I was on my way back from someone's house, having missed their moving party. It was changed to earlier in the week, and I wasn't informed. No big deal.
I stopped at a supermarket on the way back, one that I rarely go to, and did some grocery shopping. I overheard another customer speaking with an accent as he talked with a store employee.
A few minutes later, I was in a checkout lane wondering if I was going to miss him. But then I saw him come up front and get in another checkout lane. He ended up leaving the store right before me.
In the parking lot I asked if he spoke French, but he didn't. I asked where he was from, and he said Somalia. He spoke the main dialect of Somali, which is the same dialect the church's materials are in. I offered to show him the free church books in Somali that I had in my car, and he was definitely interested. He followed me over, and I got out the Somali Gospel Fundamentals (Gospel Principles Simplified) and the Somali translation of the Joseph Smith Testimony. He was pleasantly surprised. He said he was Muslim, but the fact that the material was our Sunday School manual didn't bother him. I offered him the English versions of the two items, but he declined.
The main dialect of the Somali language is "Af-Maxaa." It's important to know because there are some Somali refugees in the United States (at least three dozen in Central Indiana) who are of the "Bantu" minority who speak "Af-Maay" (aka Maay-Maay).
On a web page I found: "Af-Maay and Af-Maxaa share some similarities in their written form but are different enough in their spoken forms as to be mutually unintelligible."