We have just finished our second week of language learning! We’ve been looking for ways to let the words really be imprinted in our minds, like acting out words as we practice. We have a fun example of strategic language learning:
We went to the small local market to buy a few things for dinner. Before we had reached the market, we had a following, mostly children, who seemed very interested in observing our every move. After awhile, we were rather tired of having such a following, and decided it might help to go separate ways—Bob to look for some fruit, and me to head back to the guest house (and try to keep the crowd from following Bob). I meandered slowly, greeting people en-route. I heard a commotion, and realized that Bob had seized on a language-practice opportunity with the entourage of kids. They were coming down the dirt road like a band in a parade, while Bob called out in Tshiluba “Sombai! Imanai kuru! Yai kumala! Imanai! Pingana tshia nima! Bendai ku dia balume….” (in English, that is “Sit down! Stand up! Go forward! Stop! Go backwards! Turn right! etc….”) All the kids would follow suit with his instructions, and it was so amazing to see them coming down the road joyfully acting out our most recent lesson. I wish I had a picture! You can imagine the bikes and people heading to market having to swerve out of the way, while the kids dodged mud-puddles in their march. The adults watching from their yards got a good chuckle, and it seemed a great opportunity for having some fun in the community while we learn. I was so impressed with Bob for seizing a strategic learning opportunity!