Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Not Quite Speaking Like a Native

Tomorrow our interpreter, Linda, won’t be with us, but she said “You’ll be fine. You have Marsh!” I love learning languages, but no one can be fluent in three days! I am starting to make myself understood, though, because we ask and are asked the same questions over and over: What’s your name? How many children do you have? How old are you? Today a woman asked how old I was, and when I told her “51”, she got so excited and said “Me, too! 51!” Then she hugged me and kissed me on both cheeks and said “Arkadas” (Friend). Linda said the women here probably haven’t met Christians from America, and only know what they see in the media (Think Brittney Spears). We have been told that in this country of 70 million people, there are only about 3,000 Christians. To realize that we have families, and husbands, and are 51 like them, breaks down barriers and shows them that Muslims and Christians have commonalities. It makes Christianity less foreign and strange. I show them pictures of my town, family and friends, and they always say “Chok gusel” (So beautiful!) I have found balloons to be the universal kid-magnet, and have given them out liberally to kids at the center, and to others we meet in town. It always leads to conversation. The other thing the children love is when I take their picture and show it to them. I love that look of delight that follows. I'm having a lot of fun making friends with these dear women and children.
The top photo is a woman with the craft we did today with them. They loved doing this.


susanna said...

thanks for your blog! It is great! It so much fun to be a part of your mission trip! We are praying for you. Love Susanna

jmp said...

Looks like great fun and building bridges at the same time.

Maybe you could try the traditional tourist approach to communication: say it really loud in English in hopes that they will understand. Perhaps not.