Sunday, June 26, 2011

Language Challenges and the "Cone of Shame"

Here we are in Uganda . . . serving alongside Ugandan staff and loving the children --with whom we live and we are privileged to know. Some of you may think our lives as missionaries are difficult, beyond what you might want to endure, but our reality is one of enjoyment, fulfillment and contentment as we are where God has called us. The days do not come challenge-free, however. And all the challenges do not exclusively fall to the ex-patriot types such as ourselves. Take our dear fellow staff member and friend, Isaac. In the picture you see his broad smile--mostly a permanent fixture on his face--he and his wife, Christine just had their first child within the last few weeks. He and his wife are not originally from this part of Uganda. They are northerners who have come to serve the children here in the central area of the country. Yesterday Isaac sent a message for Geoff to come quickly as he was dealing with a frustrating situation. Seems he had ordered 4 kg of meat for a special meal for the Sunday School helpers whom he leads. Seems the butcher heard 40 kg. Isaac is a dear friend whose 4th language is Luganda! He only wanted 4 kg and only budgeted for 4 kg, but the butcher who is used to larger orders heard 40 kg. Who was to blame? Probably both of them. The difference between 4 and 40 is very slight and extremely subtle in Luganda. Isaac did his best, but as so frequently happens, the language challenges rose and conquered. Not to worry, though, Geoff and Uncle Simon were able to talk the butcher down on his price and made a quick decision to buy all 40 kgs, giving the extra to our children's family groups. All and all it came at a good time as they are beginning midterms this week and can use a few extra grams of protein!!!! When you pray for the work here, please remember the Ugandan nationals who are from other areas and tribes and are not familiar with the culture and language of this area. There is almost MORE pressure on them to "perform" as they are given less grace than we are by the villagers of this area when they make mistakes.

Twice a week I read to the primary school students. On Tuesdays I read the selection in the Chronological Bible reading to the students in the primary 2 class. We are reading through the Bible together as staff, children and church members and will conclude this November! It has been exciting and wonderful to see the story of the Bible unfold as we read together. In these three pictures, I am reading to the primary 5 class (Toby's class). On Thursdays I choose a book to read that will, hopefully, get them excited and interested in reading on their own. So far we've explored with Marco Polo, visited ancient Pompeii at the base of Mt. Vesuvius and in these pictures we went to Egypt with Howard Carter as he uncovered King Tut's tomb. And speaking of language challenges, I have to be careful what I choose and must be aware of words in the book that may not translate easily to Ugandan English. It is a welcome challenge, however, as I love seeing the joy in their faces at having "explored" yet another foreign land!

Bubbly and Geoff share a moment. Geoff was heading off to weigh our black bean harvest. We started with a Walmart package of black beans and our harvest this year is approaching 30 kg! we are at the section of our blog entitled, "Cone of Shame" (phrase stolen from the wonderful movie, "Up") Just look at that face . . . our little kitties were spayed last Friday and in an effort to keep them from tearing out their stitches they are wearing these plastic cones. It's been quite a conversation piece around here. Some thought we were putting special hats on them for decoration!!!!! And the heaviness of the cone makes them walk a bit funny as well, so a lot of laughter has been directed their way! Poor little kitties. We will be able to take the cones off later this week. A little comfort for all the mocking that has gone on . . .
commiserating together out near the bamboo in our yard . . . The rest of the pictures are from Toby's birthday party we held on Saturday. Just as it was starting a huge rainstorm came up and they all ran around trying to catch leaves and raindrops! After the rain we went back outside to swing on our tire swing--freshly up and running just for the occasion!!! They also played a local version of hide and seek called kick the can, and our own Britton version of basketball, called "Verandah Basketball". We served them frozen juice pops with the cake and it was new to many of them as ice is not common out here in the village.

Stuart guards the can during hide and seek

The awesome tire swing!!!

Sammy hiding in the bamboo

Lots of fun for everyone!

Stuart swings as he swings

Toby guarding the can

Abraham is spoon fed his juice pop




The whole gang trying to get the most out of the ice pops!!!

Time for CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Abraham plays Verandah Basketball

They each cheered the other on! It was great to watch!

Kakande heard the cheers and came running over to be a part of the fun! The kids were so gracious and cheered him on as he took his turn. He was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited. I love his face in this picture!

Abraham and Kevin

Catching leaves and raindrops

This invited friend walked 5 km to come to the party. He arrived more than one hour late, having been caught by the rainstorm. Geoff and Toby took him home on the motorbike and visited briefly with the grandparents who care for him.

No comments: