Welp. They speak Kinyarwanda here, and we speak English with a touch of German (J) and Spanish (me). Not helpful at all. The learning curve has been steep! But we are constantly overwhelmed by people who want to help us learn, or who want to practice their English with us.
Most of the time we welcome the conversation and connections. Times we do not welcome the conversation include the 6th hour of bus travel when the guy in front of us continues to says things like: Do you find the ponds? The ponds have fish. Do you find the hills? The land has one thousand hills. Do you find the climate? The climate is hot. Do you find the cattle? These are the cattle… despite the fact my eyes have already closed; during the 20th hour of the day or the 1st hour of the day, when our patience has either expired or not yet woken up; on the 12th time we’ve tried to make the Cy sound and failed; when nobody laughs at our jokes, which were translated bluntly and literally, losing all craft!
One laughable thing happened with the Grace Community team, though, during church. Our friend, who had been translating church announcements and introductions, failed to recognize when a visitor introduced herself in English. Our friend leaned over and whispered, I am here visiting from Texas. He was translating English to English. We realized then he also has a never-ending laborious task of facilitating our understanding to the point his own conscious processing has actually been numbed. Poor Ben! Proof he was accurately translating, though!
We were relieved after our 8 day stay in a remote village to have a 2-day respite at our friends’ house (they are on holiday in South Africa) to chill out and not talk to anyone! We spent 12 hours not talking. It was a dream.
Here are some clips of the language learning process with our lunch group and our pal Nepo:
Currently, I can have the following conversation in straight Kinyarwanda:
Hello. Good morning. How are you? I am fine. Good afternoon. Thank you. Thank you so much. You are welcome. Good, good. Coffee. I am full.