In Majuro, I would be out taking a walk down the one road on the island and run into students of mine. “How are you? What are you doing?” I would ask. “Jambo” was usually the response. And although they were teenagers, jambo isn’t one of those teen slang words that hides the real mischief they are getting themselves into. To jambo is to take a stroll around. Now, don’t get confused, it’s certainly not a walk. In magazines aimed at middle class & middle age American women there are often promises that walking for exercise will be the miracle cure for just about anything. Jamboing is not about exercise. Rather, a jambo is something to do with your friends in a place where there are few things to do. Or a jambo is an excuse to walk around town to visit with other people and see what people are doing.
Here, I have been jamboing quite a bit. Around 9pm this evening it was still 60 degrees and sunny out, so I just walked around the village. It turns out that in the summer- this is the time of day that everyone is awake and outside playing, working on their ATV’s, or walking around town. So I just sort of slowly walked around the village, always saying hi to everyone I saw, sometimes stopping to chat for a minute. I met some of my middle school students and talked with them for a few minutes. Jamboing seems to be the best way to see people and say hi.
As noted in my last post, I went to Unalakleet- District Headquarters- for training. In Unalakleet we jamboed too! I got to know a lot of the other new teachers just by taking walks along the beach and through town with them. Every morning before work I jamboed along the beach- what a great way to wake up and get going for the day!
I think jamboing is most prevalent in small towns, but it’s not exclusive to them. Dartmouth folk surely know the 1st floor Berry Jambo, or the Collis Jambo. Sure, we might call it facetime, but it’s really all the same thing- taking a walk to talk with a friend, seeing who is around, saying hi to the people that are around, running into people and making plans with them for later.
Below, some pictures from my jambos in Unalakleet.