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African Rednecks

Whew! It was busy week! This week started my language speaking which was both scary and exciting. Thankfully, the speaking went much better than I had hoped for and the week was not nearly as frustrating as I was anticipating! I am very grateful! I also made my first home visit to a “Sparrow” home. I went home with my language helper, Kamille, on Wednesday and ate a meal of injera, green beans, carrots and potatoes. As far as local food goes, it was some of the best that I have had. Thankfully, they did not have any of the “wat” which is the stuff with the seasoning that I can barely swallow. The vegetables here are as good or better than how we cook them in the South, so no complaints there! Kamille has a two year old daughter who is absolutely precious and she got quite a kick out of my attempts to speak the language. The two year old and I speak the language at about the same level. Right now, I get really excited if I can say “Give me the water” or “The picture has two trees” or “I am eating the rice with a fork” correctly. So, literally, I sound like a two year old when I talk!

The home visit as a whole was wonderful and again much better than I anticipated. I was afraid it would be very awkward and strained due to me not really being able to communicate, but Kamille and her family and friends were beyond gracious! I had heard many things from many people regarding the Sparrow people and almost none of it was positive. When I tell local people here that I am learning the Sparrow language, everyone always has the same reaction of shock and disgust, followed with the question “Why would you learn that language?” They are not thought of very highly here. Someone once made the analogy that the Sparrows are a lot like what we would call a “redneck” in America (please don’t get offended by that word, I am including myself, most of my friends, and half of my family when I use it). They are very rural (backwoods), independent, often uneducated, poor, and often very proud of their family and culture even though most people can’t figure out why – that pretty much defines a redneck right? Well, anyways, I sometimes refer to the Sparrow people as African Rednecks just for fun and as a way to make sure I offend as many people at one time as possible 🙂 Despite all that I have heard and been told, my visit with Kamille’s family and friends was none of those things. I have never felt more at home in a culture that was not my own than I did that afternoon in her home (I guess you could say that makes sense since we are both rednecks). She has definitely been a blessing to me so far and I am very grateful for her friendship and her willingness to teach me!  Below is a picture of her adorable daughter.

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