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October 22, 2002

Another African Cab Driver Story

OK, I've written before about the Somali guy who often turns up to take me to the airport in San Diego. Tonight I'm in DC for the first meeting of Cable in the Classroom's National Education Advisory Board. I noticed the driver's accent the moment he spoke. Not the usual Nigerian dialect... this one was sparking off synapses in me that hadn't been stoked in years. "Na Salon yu come out?" I asked him, which is to say, "Are you from Sierra Leone?"

His jaw dropped. "What are you saying?", he asked. No doubt my accent is bad after 30 years of not speaking it, but also he was completely unprepared to have a white guy talk to him in Krio. We had a great time talking about Sierra Leone and in just a few minutes I was able to dredge up memories of some old Krio proverbs and the afternoon greetings in Temne. The four other board members crammed into the back seat were somewhat mystified, I think.

Oh, and the board meeting was cool, too. What an interesting collection of people! Tomorrow we're touring C-SPAN before settling down to work.