We just finished our third week of language study. Did you know that in Kiswahili there are four different verbs for wash/clean? There's one that you use for washing your face, hands and legs. Then another one entirely (that sounds nothing like the first one) for washing the rest of your body. No, seriously. So instead of posting pictures of us with smoke coming out of our ears, I thought I'd post pics of the teachers we get to work with everyday. They are encouraging. They are generous. They are servants. We love the time we get to spend with them...even when we don't know what they are saying.
Petero Mkubwa, Big Peter, is one of our main teachers. He is a pastor, teacher, and excellent storyteller. He has been teaching language for about 20 years. He is from Turkana, the northern part of Kenya, and pairs the language with cultural stories in a way that makes the class fly by.
Petero Mdogo, Peter Small, has been at the school for a little over a year and a half. We spend part of our mornings monday through friday with him. They say it takes a thousand mistakes to learn a language. Its not so bad making mistakes with someone who feels like a little brother.
Dada Stella starts the morning devotions leading us in singing. It's a wonderful sound. After twenty years teaching at the language school, she still enjoys laughing. She promises its not at us, really, its more with us.
When Mike saw this picture of Samweli he said, Yes, that's him! Making music and smiling. He has been a teacher here for two years. We have not had him in class, but at chai time (the BEST time of the day) we practice our Swahili together with him.
When Margaret heard it was 'picture day' she wanted to be on the blog too. Margaret is the administrative assistant and has been with the language school since it started twenty years ago. She and Dada Stella had been working together at another language school that ended up closing. So they, with one other person, decided to start their own school. Now, with more teachers added, they are still working together to teach us missionaries how to communicate clearly in our new home country.
We are enjoying being here and really appreciate the hard work it takes to help us learn to speak and listen and communicate with those around us.
It's been a month since we arrived in Kenya. We've done orientation to the field, we've seen and visited what will be our new home here, and we've moved into an apartment near Nairobi for language study and completed our first week of language. A month seems like a long time, but we are still getting our bearings. The kids are doing well with the constant transitions. I think Caleb will acclimatize faster than all of us. He waves and greets each person he sees, no matter how far away they are. Eden has made it her full time job to look for, capture and name chameleons in each place we have stayed. If there is an animal, she is interested in it. I think she has come to the right place. Mike and I are busy studying language and trying to unearth all the vocabulary that's been buried in our long term memory. Thankfully, we haven't forgotten how to enjoy chai that is a Kenyan tradition.
Mike (pediatric surgeon) and Julie (nurse/mother to two) living in Kenya, East Africa