I went on another visit to my language nurturer’s house today, and as last time, it was really great. Somehow, I missed the fact last time that I actually met her husband. I thought the guy I met last time was a friend of her husband’s, which didn’t really make sense, but I never put two and two together. I think I expected her husband to be mean and unfriendly and this guy was extremely nice. I was pleasantly surprised to find out he was her husband and to experience his friendliness again, but also embarrassed that I hadn’t realized he was her husband on the first trip. A firinge coming to the house was apparently a cause for all of the neighborhood to come out and visit. Her husband brought a friend and then her sister-in-law, another relative, and a couple of friends came by. In a one room house, it was pretty full. They treated me as if I were something really special, giving me the best of everything and things they would never buy for themselves (like a Coke) and had me eat before them and off of a separate plate from them (they all ate off the same plate). Today’s meal was injera (of course), bread, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage, and eggs. They gave me all of the eggs and took none for themselves. They were all extremely nice and very accommodating. Every single person in the room was from the village that I am going to live in. I couldn’t get over how friendly and welcoming they were compared to the response I get when I am in the village. I’m not really sure what makes the difference. But if I find a handful of people in the village that are as welcoming and hospitable as these people were, then I will be okay.
I was able to communicate a good bit, which was really encouraging. I was also unable to communicate quite a bit as well – that part was a little frustrating. They got a big kick out of my attempts to say things and my incorrect pronunciations. Although technically I was only there for lunch, lunch for a guest is an extremely long process and I didn’t leave the house until almost 5. That was after I had lunch, roasted grain, popcorn (which is part of the coffee ceremony), and of course coffee. As we left, they all escorted me down the half mile hike to the road where the taxis are available. It was quite the procession with the firinge in the middle. A couple of them had to get a taxi themselves to go to their house, but the rest were just along as a form of hospitality. I was made aware of the fact that all 7 of the adults that were there that afternoon stopped everything they were doing for the whole afternoon and entertained me and then all of them walked down the hill (which meant they had to walk back up and it was not an easy walk) to take me to the taxi. I personally hate to have my day interrupted with entertaining other people, especially when I have work I need to be doing, so it was a good reminder for me of what they gave up to so graciously host me. As far as I could tell, it was their absolute pleasure to have me in their house and spend the afternoon catering to my every need. Her husband even mentioned that a lot of people in this country don’t have jobs because the economy is so poor, so they sit around and talk a lot, while people in America are busy and wouldn’t have as much time available to sit and talk. He seemed to prefer the American way of life (and the fact that there are jobs), but I was impressed by the hospitality that was shown by this culture.
I am exhausted from the 5 hours of continuous language (none of them could speak any significant English) but it was a very good afternoon and one of the first times I have gotten any form of intense language immersion. It was also refreshing to experience their hospitality and have hope that the future holds more good relationships with this people group.