Well that’s the aim but not out loud just yet.
We arrived back in Ndjamena 2 weeks ago – our first job was to collect all our belongings from Guinebor where they had somehow managed to get dusty even shut in a container. Then we unpacked a few necessities and set up in our new home in the middle of the town on the TEAM compound as it happens where we stayed the first ever night we spent in Chad although we have the big house so we can sort our things more easily. It’s been good to start to get to know the other TEAM missionaries and feel part of a new team (this could get confusing!)
After asking for advice from one of the other missionaries as to how to find a language helper just a week later we had our first language lesson. This however is a lesson with a difference do you remember how you learnt to talk- well maybe not but do you remember how your children learnt. Well they didn’t write much down and they didn’t speak to start with and…… that’s what we are doing.
With the aid of pictures and objects and a nifty small MP3 recorder ( that we fortunately found on the market) we are learning a new vocabulary but not actually speaking very much. So by tomorrow we will have 150 new words that we can recognise and we continue building on this for another 2 weeks with very little speaking till we get to 300. We do know some words already and also we have obviously been doing the listening bit for a long while so we have spoken a little but are still following the method fairly closely. It’s fun but challenging too.
The method is called GPA or Growing Participator Approach and the idea is that learning a new language means that, to quote the study guide.
‘You don't learn the language! Rather, discover a new world, as it is known and shared by the people among whom you are living.’
This gives us an excuse to go to market and practice our new words well actually so far rabbit, snake and the parts of the body have not been too useful. However Mark decided that if he looked the part perhaps it would help so we ventured into the clothes part of the market to buy a Jalabeer. He wanted a simple cotton one -not as easy as it sounds lots have a lot of embroidery and we were assured that the readymade one we were offered was 100% cotton until we found the label saying 100% yes but polyester!! Eventually the cloth was bought -at a price and the tailor paid and we picked it up last Friday. So far there hasn’t been any major change in the Arabic but perhaps it would help if he wore it!
So we continue to learn a new language and to speak a little, one big advantage being no faux pas yet until we have to open our mouths.