I knew I would have the opportunity to speak a little of Shangana in Marracuene or Macaneta. The occasion came when I had to check the presence of the ferryboat, as soon as we stopped near the jetty.
When I returned to the car I saw a group of eight or ten women, sitting against a nearby wall for protection from the harsh darts of the sun. I decided at once to make them laugh a bit by showing my tottering Shangana.
“Famba, Paul!” I said.
Their reaction was so strong that I kept my right foot in the same position, without entering the vehicle. For seconds I tried to find a way of surprising them.
“Fambani, Paul!” I corrected, peeking at the same time their reaction. A couple still laughed, but the majority showed the surprise-effect I was looking for.
So then, when I returned I explained to Tieta what had happened and she confirmed that I had used the words in the right context. Besides, as always happens, I even learned a few more words: 1) Buia alene, meaning come here. 2) Buiani, plural for buia.
I am progressing. Like hard tyres through sandy roads, still progressing.