We’re Learning!!

Our house - from the side street

Our house – from across the street

We’ve spent our first few months getting settled in and dealing with various situations that arose. We’ve observed the culture, met our neighbors, and gotten to know a few people from the church and community. We have learned how and where to shop, though when is still an enigma! Sometimes places are just closed for no reason known to us, or they are open but have nothing to sell. That’s just part of the culture. We have heard how our neighbors greet each other and how they greet us. We are figuring out what to say in different settings and at different times of day. In the church, we try to use our Garifuna greetings, but in the town we stick to Spanish for now.

Marcial works with Wes and Joel

Marcial works with Wes and Joel

Virginia works with Cindy and Abigail

Virginia works with Cindy and Abigail

We are in our third week in formal language study. A Garifuna couple comes to our house twice a week, and the men and Joel go to the porch to work, while the women and Abigail work in the livingroom. We make recordings of lessons we will continue listening to until we understand them well. Learning a new language is a tiring activity, but God is giving us the strength to keep moving forward. It also takes some organization, since the hour our language helpers can meet is when I would normally be preparing supper. We’re getting into the flow!

We don’t know what God has for us next, so we are trying to prepare in the best way possible where He has placed us. Garifuna is a very complicated language to learn because it has roots in so many other languages. According to Wikipedia, 45% of the vocabulary comes from Arawak, 25% from Carib, 15% from French, 10% from English and 5% are Spanish or English technical terms (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garifuna_language). In addition to that, there are random words from various African languages. If we could just figure out which words are from a language we know, we’d have a head start! However, the grammatical structure is like nothing we’ve ever heard of, so that will be interesting. If the Lord has placed this in our hearts for His purposes, He will equip us to learn. We remind ourselves of that as we get overwhelmed!

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