Friday, July 2, 2010

English Class

Oh Haiti, how I love thee.

Good days these past two days! Yesterday we said "goodbye" to Nathan as he went back to New York. After that we ran a few errands and picked a group up from the airport. After we arrived back, though, it was craziness all around. We have a medical team here right now (although they leave tomorrow) and they were offering care to the Guest House staff and friends of the Guest House.

As soon as I arrived at the Guest House, one of the doctors turned to me and said, "One of the boys was here earlier today and told us he was peeing blood, but it was right before we had to go so we couldn't see him then. Do you know how we might be able to find him now?" I asked what the name of the boy was and Leonard, the interpreter, said, "I believe he said his name is Steven..." The mother hen inside of me went, "Oh no! Steven? Really? I'll go find him right away."

Luckily, Steven was coming back from getting something on the street right as I was looking for him. I quickly called him over and took him to the doctor. They were able to diagnose him and give him some medication. I was grateful - I don't want my boys to be sick!

After that, I played some basketball with the boys in our driveway with a soccer ball. That was interesting... especially since the ball kept on going in the sewage water... awesome. But it actually was a lot of fun. The boys were totally into it and they were quite impressed with my skillz. I'm really not very good at basketball, but I was willing to play and they loved it. However, we didn't have any hoop so mostly it was just a lot of passing and dribbling. Oh well, they still loved it and that's all that matters.

I was also roped into some shopping by some of the vendors that sit outside the Guest House. Yikes. However, now the majority of my gift shopping is done... so that's good I suppose!

Last night Mike and I decided that we would combine all of our leftovers and give them to my boys so they would have some decent food. We did that and then Belorne offered, "Would you like me to create a plate of food for your boys?" I, of course, agreed to take another plate for them. However, I underestimated Belorne's awesome-ness because she created a plate PILED with food - rice and beans, chicken, and some vegetables and potatoes. A few boys came by last night and we gave them the plate. It was such a joy to watch them FEAST. Loved it.

Today was also pretty cool - filled with a lot of work. I created several documents for Mike to use this morning and felt super productive. We stopped for a quick lunch break and then it was back to making more documents. I'm kind of proud of what I created. It's quite nice. Also nice is that Mike and Doug trust me so much at this point to create this stuff that they just tell me what they need and I run with it. When I'm done, I show them and they say, "Yeah, that looks great!" I have a good deal here.

(Also in the midst of this we saw Brazil lose (which made half of Haiti very sad while the other half (the Argentina half) rejoiced) as well as the lame win for Uruguay. Ghana - you totally deserved the win. Oh well, though.)

At 4:40, though, Petersen found me and Bryan and told us it was time to go to English class. Petersen teaches an English class to a few young adults who want to better learn English. I believe that they're all there voluntarily - including Petersen who leads the class every Friday at 4 (it started later today because of the Ghana game.) They use one of the temporary outdoor class spaces and bring their own chalk for Petersen to use on the chalkboard. I thought that was beautiful and a great example of what having a "thirst for knowledge" really looks like.

Petersen started the class and then essentially he had me lead the majority of the rest of it. As I am a native English speaker, the 3 students really liked having me there to correct some of their pronunciation as well as teach them new words. It really amazed me at how willing they were to "put themselves out there." For example, Petersen had me read a text to them so they could listen to how I said the words. When I got done, one of the guys in the group said, "Can we all take turns reading the text so she can correct us?" Petersen happily agreed and they all three took turns reading the same text. It was awesome and they were fairly good at reading English text.

However, it was during this lesson that I discovered just how difficult it is to say certain words in English. The big text that they took turns reading was about how too much traffic is a global problem because there are too many cars on the road. I found out that "road" and "roads" is very hard to say. Like, super hard to say. Their "roads" sounded more like "words." We spent a long time trying to pronounce it correctly and they never quite got it. They worked so hard, though, and it was so inspiring to be with them and see how hard they were working to grasp the information.

At the end of the lesson they all said "thank you" to me and asked if I would be able to return next week for their next lesson. I said that I certainly could and they got very excited. I look forward to the next English class next week on Friday. :)

Speaking of learning languages - I hear that my Kreyol is becoming very good. Johnny says that I say words like Haitians do and Claire, the woman who works at the Guest House and speaks NO English, told Mike that she thought my Kreyol was very good. It's good to know that not only am I learning - but I'm learning how to say things correctly! Hooray!

Therefore, I suppose I'll end this with some more Kreyol:
Kote - Where is (So Kote Bryan is Where is Bryan?)
Poulle - Chicken
Domi - sleep(ing)
lave rod - laundry (lave - wash, rod - clothes)
jupe - skirt
Cheve - hair
Ti moun - kids
li - him, her, she, he, it
lajan, kob - money

Now I am off to bed. Goodnight world!


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