Saturday, May 19, 2012

They Don't Get You Well

School begins next week for the children of Buwenge, but several gathered to welcome me to Shared Hope for Orphans anyhow. They spoke a lovely welcome greeting in English and did so well that I forgot that the rest of their English may not be as well developed…so I began chatting with them. The looks of struggle on their faces and a prompt by Alone, the president of the organization, reminded me that “they don’t get you well.” I think he found a little satisfaction in knowing he wasn't the only one who didn't always understand the mzungu. The children want to learn English but seldom get to practice with a mzungu. American English pronunciations of the vowels differ enough to cause confusion for children and adults alike. After translating my conversation, Alone carefully pronounced my name and as we met with the Shared Hope leaders, the children repeated my name over and over from outside the window to get my attention until Livingstone shooed them away.