Friday, September 28, 2007

Pictures of my Class and Frustrations with Creole

Writen on Monday, but not posted until Friday.... Ah internet in Guinea-Bissau...
Life is starting to settle into a pattern here. I am teaching third level English again and my classes are going really well. Both of my classes are really small – 12 in the morning and 10 in the afternoon. Everyone in my classes has already graduated high school and most of them are learning English to study (University level) in an English speaking country or to use it in their business; so they are pretty motivated in general. I do feel pretty outnumbered most of the time because I don't have any women in either of my classes.

Hard at work

Eduardo and Dionisio take a break from their reading

Antigina, Isaac, Wilson, and William

Benildo and Quintino are two of my chattiest students

A serious moment. Check out the white jelly shoes. Those are the prefered soccer playing shoes in Guinea-Bissau.

We are finally getting settled into our house. (I feel like we have been here for months even though it hasn't even been two weeks) Jason and I took a tour of the place with a video camera today and he is editing it into a smooth deal right now. After he gets finished we want to try to post it on You-Tube, so you guys will have some quality footage to peruse at your leisure. Hehe…

We didn't have any school today (Monday) because it is Independence Day in Guinea-Bissau. It was nice to have a break and hang out with Erica. We cooked up a big lunch of Mexican food that was delicious (especially because of the addition of cheddar cheese which we froze in the States and packed into the server case for the trip over – Oh American contraband, how I love you). Then we took a taxi downtown for a little ice cream and some bulu (cake/pastry). The ice-cream is soft-serve and it tastes a lot different than ice cream in the States, but it is cold and refreshing! The ice cream right now has kind of a bubble gum flavor so it is Pepto-pink swirled with white. I poured the melted remains over the last bit of paistry. It doesn't look great but trust me, it was.

On Thursday Ron and Ruth Berger from YFC came to visit us. A few times a year they go on whirlwind trips to visit lots of YFC missionaries in the field. For the people who make 2 year commitments Ron and Rut visit them in the first six months. Since we are short-termers they usually wouldn't have visited us but they decided to come down and check out everything at the Youth Center. They flew in on Thursday evening, we went out to dinner, we got up on Friday, they hung out with each of us and chatted between our classes, they took us out for lunch, and then we took them to the airport. It was fast, but fun.

Erica, Emily, Jason, Ruth, and Ron
My Portuguese-Creole speaking and understanding are coming along really well. I am forcing myself to use it much more and that has been very good for me. I have gotten into some fierce bargaining battles with taxi drivers and sellers at the market. Shopping is the thing that I am best at (in Creole) here and I like it a lot. Not this past Saturday, but the first one that we were here, Erica and I went to the market to buy fabric so that we could make curtains for our windows. I was a Creole spitting machine I was bargaining left and right and ended up getting a great price on all of the stuff we bought. It was really fun. Then the next day we went to a fairly new church plant that meets at the Youth Center. We know the pastor and he wanted us to come. After the singing, out of nowhere, he asked Jason and I to come up and speak to everyone. As we were walking up I got about 5 really good Creole sentences in my head, but I was so nervous. Jason said a little about what we are planning to do while we are here and how long we are staying. Then it was my turn. I got "No sta muito kontenti pa…" (We are very happy to…) out of my mouth and then I just froze. After a few seconds someone in the crowd said "sta li" (be here) which is what I was looking for and I finished the sentence. My mind totally blanked. I couldn't even think of anything in English to say. It was so embarrassing and when we sat down one of my Guinean friends leaned over to me and said (in Creole) "You really need to learn how to speak Creole." Which almost made me melt into tears of frustration… I emailed a good friend because I was so frustrated with myself and I got a really encouraging email from her about how much my English is contributing to Guinea-Bissau and how much I really do know in Creole. (Perfect timing on that one by the way.) So anyway I have decided to be really proud of what I am good at in Creole and work on the things that I am not, without feeling bad about it. As most of you know it is pretty hard for me to know that I am bad at something and keep trying it, so please keep my language learning in your prayers – that I would pick it up rapidly and that I would have the right attitude about it.

On a lighter note I will leave you with a few pictures. The pastor who lives in the house below us has two pet parrots that are pretty cool.

Bad to the bone! That's right, he is on our super-sweet "mota".

Is that bird giggling???