Friday, November 22, 2013

Our Bilingual Dog

Yup. There she is. Our bilingual dog, Bubbly. Being bilingual and all, of course her intelligence is not in question. It's my intelligence that is subject to scrutiny.

It's amazing in my denseness that I even know she is bilingual. Indeed, I have only learned from experience that when she stands where she isn't supposed to, or begins to run away to find that yummy pork bone in the neighbors rubbish pit, or to steal a bit of cast off posho or a coveted piece of jackfruit, it requires two different languages before my commands are obeyed. It has taken me some time to learn this and all the while she has been the clear winner. Who has trained whom here?

Right again, she is so bright she has trained me. English doesn't work anymore, so I've resorted to Luganda. When I holler for her to return to the house as she is slinking away to sure disobedience or when I command her to go back home when I turn and see she is following me out of the compound, I still thoughtlessly used English first. Silly me. She just looks at me, gives me the stupid look coupled with the hopeful look that perhaps this time I will keep using English and not use Luganda to which she actually responds.

Today I headed off to the clinic to retrieve malaria treatment for Geoff. Since the middle of the night he has been achy and progressing toward that tell-tale yuck feeling that screams malaria. We attended the IY handover today in which many of our David family kids were celebrated as they finished a year of hard work in various internships and studies. As soon as that was over we got Geoff's blood tested at the clinic and he went straight to bed. After I received the phone call that confirmed malaria, I traipsed through our compound directly passing by a sunbathing Bubbly. She stayed put, or so I thought. Once I was almost through my short cut to the clinic I felt her warm black fur on my leg. "Go home!" I commanded. I'm such a slow learner. Four times I commanded "Go Home!" to no avail. Not until I sternly spoke in Luganda, "Gende Awaka!" did she respond.

I wonder what else I will learn along the way from this black, furry, four-legged teacher.

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