'Tutashiba?' - will we be full/satisfied?
I was in a bar in Nairobi one night with a friend. His question was aiming at the waiter and the options on the menu, but it turned into an almost existential debate of who holds back and who wants more.
'Full of what? Enough of what? Satisfied? What are we really asking for?! When is it enough? When is it too much?!' I asked.
Oh, my friend gets this. What we say word for word, and what we say in between the lines.
'No, you cannot say 'tutashiba' during sex. Definitely not' he argued.
'Well, maybe you can?!' he contemplated and retreated.
Recently when I was in Zanzibar the first existential question in the morning would appear when my friend Amanda ordered her espresso with milk at Café Foro:
'How much (milk) and to where? Mpakabas?' - to the edge (of the cup)?' Or 'Mpaka juu' - endless and infinite?
The latter is sort of physically impossible but it does say something about you: Are you the one to hold back and think: 'It's already enough', or are you ready for more? Do you see the glass as empty or full?
'Mipaka' is Swahili for 'boundaries' - indicators of how much and how little. From where to what. Of who thinks enough is enough, and who is still wanting more. And the reaching or overstepping of borders thus also relate to the 'sitaki!' (I don't want). Something we often hear too little of, and too late.