8 years ago, Josh and I were at orientation in a class that taught us how to learn language. More importantly, they taught us the reasons WHY we learn the local language.
*to be able to properly order pizza over the phone (harder than it sounds!)
We want to reach people where THEY are. To show them we love them, their culture, their language. Jesus reached people where they were. It means something to have someone learn about you when they are in your country.
I am thankful I have been able to get by on my limited Swahili all these years, after our initial course in Tanzania 7 1/2 years ago. I can bargain, get good rates on public transportation, and meaningfully tell vendors on the beach that I am not interested in more wood carvings. However, I am limited. I can’t hold “real” conversations. I want to.
Josh has done much better at me in expanding his language abilities. Probably helps that he actually talks to people. I use my “I’m an English teacher so let’s talk in English” excuse a little too much. He will be doing the main course learning, because his work depends on Swahili more than my work does (my kids speak English and my students are from Pakistan). But I’m hoping to learn more through helping him with homework (déjà vu from college days!), and just practicing around town where English is not an option. I also want my kids to learn greetings and basic phrases so they can begin communicating.
6 weeks in a new country. 6 weeks in a small town. Homeschool? We will learn many things, but it remains to be seen how much is from a book. We might depart a little from the technology, take advantage of the surrounding rustic natural settings. I can’t wait. I’m thankful for this opportunity to add to our skill set in our work here. I’m thankful to be able to learn a little better how to be a “local.” I may never look Kenyan, but I hope that when I open my mouth, I can share the love of Jesus in a way that sounds a little closer to home. To their home. >