McClenahens to Mozambique
"…That they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

Tankurefunda- We Are Learning!

May 20, 2014 by rkmcclenahen

“Kwankutenda kinaní?” “What are you doing?” The answer to this question for us over the last couple of weeks is: trying to learn the Kimwani language! Before we arrived, our team leaders had already arranged individual “language helpers” for each of us- someone who could meet with us almost every day of the week for an hour to two hours just to help us learn Kimwani. We were excited about the fact that both of our helpers were said to speak at least a bit of English, and Kristen’s was fluent in Portuguese as well, the official language of Mozambique. Unfortunately, the day before lessons were to start, Kristen’s helper revealed that she could no longer fill the position. Another helper was found a few days later, however she speaks basically no English. Rusty has found his helper to be very structured and detailed as a teacher, while Kristen’s lessons are basically self-led, or else they devolve into talking about random vocabulary with no rhyme or reason.

This new part of our lives has offered new challenges as well as new joys, as we start to recognize words that sound so strange to us, and venture to make our first real contacts within the community. Rusty has managed to walk down from our apartment (slightly outside of the neighborhood we are focused on) to Pakiti at least 5 days a week and spends about 3-4 hours practicing with his language helper, Moussa, and just spending time starting up (limited) conversations with the locals. In just our few short weeks here and with hardly any language ability to speak of, he has managed to hire someone to mend some pants damaged in the wash, get his hair cut, buy and try several local foods, and start to convey his eagerness to go out fishing with the local men.

Without a car and with the heat, distance, and children to manage, Kristen has only been able to make it into the actual “bairro” or neighborhood once to practice language. We are hoping that this can become more frequent, especially once we secure a vehicle and things like shopping and such won’t take so much time out of the day. Even without the influence of the community and more people to speak with, Kristen is learning as much as possible with her language helper who comes to our house, especially how to talk about family life, things around our “nyumba” (house), and about our “wanangu” (children).

Though it seems the going is slow, we are hopeful that in a few months we will be able to start learning scripture passages and learning to tell “God Stories” like our teammates, who have been here four months, are now starting to do. Want to try your hand (or tongue) at the task? We will leave you with a Kimwani translation of The Lord’s Prayer.

Baba wetu uri binguni,

Rikurisiwe zina rako,

Uje ufalume wako,

Vitendiwe vyausaka kamba vitendiwa mbinguni,

Na mulumwengu-mu vitendiwe novyo.

Tipe luziki lelo ratisakula kila suku.

Tiswamii makosa etu,

Kamba ofwe novyo vyatiwaswamii watikosa.

Usitase kutingila ushetwani,

Fala tinusuru mmakono mwa Mbaya.

Konta uwe ndi mwenye ufalume, mwenye unguvo, mwenye utukufo,

Daima milele.

Matwaya 6:9-13

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