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The Browns – Tom, Ali, Crescena, Bez, & Ber
July 4, 2012 11:16 am
Published in: Uncategorized

Enjoying some free ice cream

We are studying language in Mombasa, a city on Kenya’s coast and one of the prime vacation spots.  Tuko kwasababu tunajifunza Kiswahili.  (We are here because we are learning Kiswahili)  However, onlookers assume we are merely tourists on vacation.  Mombasa being an ideal vacation spot, we were hoping to do something while here.  Though our plan was to “vacation” a bit at the end of our time here, high season begins July 1st and prices go up!  So, we were able to stay at an all-inclusive resort at CHEAP low-season prices on an Internet special last week.  Not only did we have a blast, but it was a great location to practice our Kiswahili.  At the buffet, it was clear the servers were not expecting us to ask for food in Kiswahili, and when we attempted to converse in Kiswahili their faces lit up!  During our first week of language learning in a course all AIM missionaries take (LAMP- Language Acquisition Made Practical), we were taught how to learn a language by being relational.  The course emphasized how taking the humble posture of a learner opens doors to relationship.  One of the first phrases we learned was: Ninataka kujifunza Kiswahili (I want to learn kiswahili). Well, this week, we got to expand on that and tell the staff and other Kenyans at the resort that we are in Mombasa to learn.  It was amazing to watch how the demeanor of the listening Kenyan changed for the better once we communicated why we are in Mombasa.  Introducing ourselves and talking to the staff at the pool, dining hall, etc gave us fabulous practice at what we are learning.   Having the motive of learning language changed the dynamics of the time.  We had meaningful exchanges with people instead of just being focused on our own fun and pleasure.  It reminded me to be more aware of people and the power of humility.

White skin is a sign of wealth and power here, and in becoming a learner, we were able to humble ourselves below the staff (whom we watched be looked down on and treated poorly by other wealthy people and classes).  I know that I would not have been rude to the staff, but, without language learning, I don’t think we would have been able to level the playing field for mutual relationship.  My prayer is that this would be a permanent lesson for me.  May I learn to enter situations, people, and relationships with humility and the position of a learner whether the intent of my stay is to learn or not.

We tried to practice at the market (one of the most populated locations in town).  However, people just saw our skin and wanted money instead of being willing to talk with us.  In contrast, the resort staff were eager to teach us and help us practice, and they had nothing to sell us or “get” from us.

Not only was being at the resort a prime place to practice language, it was also a cultural experience.  We would sit at meals and observe all the different cultures represented in the room.  What a fabulous, beautiful, rich, enjoyable, and serene time we had this week!  I am in awe of God’ good gifts.

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