Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Nuka Kichwata Yachakuni!!! I am learning Quichua!

Well...we are officially 2 weeks into the Quichua course...siiiiiiiiiigh... I have to say that I love the branch's language courses...they certainly are not boring! I am posting a few pictures that I have taken lately to give you a taste!!! It looks more like Romper-room than a language course! The theory is that if you try to learn and memorize, while actually doing something physical, it sticks! For example, we count to 10 while bouncing a balloon on our elbow. Not just any elbow, if you are right-handed, you should do it with your left elbow, etc. Or, we learned our first presentation singing it to the children's song tune of Frere Jacques. We have to act things out, to dialogues...if you can think of a way to embarrass yourself, we have done it! haha Mind you, it does work for remembering it, but it is very hard not to carry a little tune when you are actually giving the presentation! So, do we like it? you ask...YES! Well, It has brought back a lot of the post-traumatic stress of starting in Spanish...thinking to ourselves "Are we ever going to be able to have a conversation in this language?" But, we are eager to learn and so I am sure that Jehovah will help us get through it! One of the HARDEST things for me is preaching in the market. The majority of the Quichua-speaking people sell fruits and vegetables at the market everyday. So, we go to where the people are and preach! But, let me tell you, even before this, although I love the fresh fruits and vegetables, I didn't really like the market. Too many people in very small spaces, too many gross smells, too many people shouting at you "lemons! lemons! Tomatoes! How can I help you!?!?!?" And because we are obviously foreigners, we have to work harder to haggle a good price, and there is always someone staring suspiciously at your bag or wallet...I think you get the point. Now, imagine, trying to get out a presentation that you don't even understand in the middle of all of this craziness! But, everday gets a little bit easier...I'm supposed to say that right? haha So, "jump right in and get to it" Chad, has started 2 bible studies already! One day he was studying in Spanish with a guy at a hardware store near us. On his way out he noticed a new fruit stand and low and behold...they were dressed like Otavalans! So, Chad goes right on up to them and tells them that he is learning Quichua (the advantage is that they almost all speak very good spanish). He said how nice they were and offered to help him with his Quichua! Anyway, the next week, we now had a presentation, so he went back. There were some guys there too, so he decided to show them the "Bible Teach" book. Since he didn't have tons of confidence yet, and they were speaking in Spanish, he pulled out the book in spanish and started the study. He asked the first question and said that the one man answered it, but is was very vague, and wasn't really the right answer. So, Chad decided to pull out the book in Quichua, and re-read the paragraph to them (well as best he could!), then asked the question---and the man answered it right away...he got the point! Which was Jehovah teaching us a lesson, because some of the brothers and sisters in our spanish cong. have been telling us that it isn't as important to learn Quichua because they all speak spanish, too! But, we got the point! It is never the same as hearing the truth in your mother tongue!!!! The elder in our group moved here with his wife about 8 months ago from Otavalo. He is from Germany, she is from France. He speaks, German, French, English, Spanish, and now has been in Quichua for 5 years and is fluent! They are really sweet! She told me that she has 21 bible studies right now, and almost all of them are in the market! Another lesson Jehovah taught me about getting over my fear of the market! haha We have a cute little group...well, it isn't so little now. With all the ones taking the class, I think there are about 45 of us now. So, the brothers are excited and hoping to have their own cong. very soon. The problem is that we are currently a group attached to a spanish cong. Which means that we have our own Theo. School in the back school...now picture a typical size back school room...got it? Ok, now picture 45 of us in there!!!! The majority of us have to stand...it is HOT as anything, and it is kind of hard to pay attention! So, as you can see, we really need our own congregation....SOON! We will see what Jehovah has in mind! Chad and I officially feel like the "old married people"...because out of the 45 in the group, there are only 3 couples! The rest are all single people, and the majority of them younger than us! What a change from our Spanish congregation full of families and babies and little kids!!! BOO HOO!! But, every situation has its advantages! The meetings are much quieter! Although there are quite a few bible students that attend. One of the women brings her 5 little girls (between the ages of 1 and 7)with her! They certainly contribute to the noise factor! The growth in the Quichua field has been tremendous! Hence the reason the branch sent out letters requesting help! For example, in our group of about 45, probably 30 of them belong to the group, cards and all. The CO told us a few weeks ago that in the group they are conducting 120 bible studies! WOW!!!! We hope to soon find our niche and be of some use! It is always a little hard in the middle of a change, nothing quite feels right. We are still going to almost all the spanish meetings, because we can't quite tear ourselves away yet! (But, more and more brothers are learning that we will be leaving, so it is hard to go there without being sad). But, in Quichua, although everyone is very nice, doesn't quite feel like home yet. SO! I have to follow the advice that I always give to new Spanish learners...stick it out for at least a year, and then it will start to feel better! And it is soooo true!!!! I'll let you know how it goes! Well, there is soo much more to tell, as everyday is a new experience for us...but I think I have rambled on enough for one day! Thanks for your patience with my lack of blogging and we miss you all!!!!!!Here is our group during the CO visit. The CO and his wife are in the front on the bottom. He is wearing a red poncho.... What a cute group, eh?

As, you can see, ponchos, without ties, are used for the meetings. It isn't mandatory, but we have been instructed that the brothers should soon start to buy ponchos for the meetings!

Here is a group heading out to a town outside of the city. They go there every other Saturday to find people at the market! Ridin' in style!!!

Here is an example of things we do in the course. They are dressed up as a Buyer and a seller at the market and are having a conversation. It helps us learn phrases like..."How are you?" "What would you like?" "Do you have...?"
Our new "weapons" for the battle! Check out the size of that Bible! You should try carrying it around in your bag all day!!! WHEW!! I am going to have a HUGE left shoulder muscle! haha

Here we are using visual aids to learn how to conjugate verbs!

In order to learn certain verbs, like sleep, we had to act them out. Here the two standing are the "parents" and have to take care of their "baby" and teach him how to do certain things, like, walk, eat, sleep! It was really funny!!!!

Happy as clams because in service...THEY DON"T HAVE TO WEAR TIES!!!!! This was our first day out and the boys were soooo happy to have gotten rid of their ties!!

Here Fernando and Chad are goofing around trying on poncho's at a store. Fernando chickened out and didn't buy one, but Chad bought a really nice black one! He is going to wear it next week...I'll show you pictures!!


Elizabeth (soon to be) in Ecuador said...

Cool blog - and neat pictures!I want to join! - Oh I suppose we should learn spanish properly first! Can't wait to see you in 27 more days!

Aaron said...

Wow - that sounds like real fun. And cool pictures too. Glad to hear you enjoying it

Deb n Doug said...

You know we love your rambling Michele! Sounds like you're having a lot of fun in your class but I also know how much work it is. We know Jehovah will help you and you'll be a wonderful asset in the Quichua congregation!

Aggidio - JoAnn said...

I want classes like that for spanish!! And Aggidio is ready to switch over so he doesn't have to wear a tie anymore. :) Just one question: are the quichua speaking people exceptionally tall because Chad looks average height in the group picture!

Chad and Michele said...

Hi everyone! In answer to your question Joann, I didn't notice it before, but he must have been shrinking down. In the picture he is the same height as Fernando..but as you notice in the other pictures...not so much!!!!hahahaha That would be hilarious if the indigenous people were HUGE!!!!

The Haines Family said...

Very interesting!

We often hear examples of people saying how impressed they are when they realize you have learned their language and are embracing their culture, and so they think that what you have to say must be really important. They listen and then become our brothers. I'm sure you guys will have some of those experiences to share soon :)

AJ and Jordanne said...

Great blog and pics ~ thanks for the update...Looks like you guys are doing awesome and fitting right in!!!

kambelina said...

Chad and Michele, HOW ABSOLUTELY COOL (I told you that you would love it Michele). I am so very excited for you and a little bit jealous too. I am sure that you will both soon have more studies than you can handle. I miss you lots.

Damaris said...

Love the blog..very interesting. Love the pics...very cool. thanks!

candia said...

Hi, Chad and Michele,
I love reading your blog! That's really interesting how they have you learning while doing something physical.
It makes me smile to see how rabbit ears in photos cross all cultural boundaries:)
Can't wait to hear more and see more pics!!

crackmyfashion said...

it is a ecuador dress?/