Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Yeccu ani 'ya

Language learning.
Relationship building.
Courage growing.
Humbleness happening.
Joy overflowing.
I think that pretty well sums up my last couple weeks in Doro.

I arrived in Doro on a Thursday evening(almost 3 weeks ago now). Friday all my cargo arrived so I spent the day setting up home. I’m loving it. Little things keep coming together, like I sewed one of my curtains yesterday. Little by little I’m making this place home-y and mine.

My door is on the right. You walk into my enclosed porch and then into my bedroom.
Another teammate lives on the other side.
My porch/kitchen/sitting area
One side of my bedroom
The other side of my bedroom
From my bedroom looking out

Saturday morning I walked with one of my teammates almost two hours to a Mabaan village she calls home here. She lives out there part-time, no running water, no electricity, lots of Mabaan, lots of community. I got to join her from Saturday until Tuesday morning. I worked on greetings and listening and smiling. Came back for a couple days and jumped into a self-guided Mabaan langauge kick-start book! All in preparation for another trip out to the village, this time equipped with a few more words! We went again Friday afternoon and came back Sunday afternoon. It was fun listening to conversations and hearing words, not necessarily knowing what they meant but knowing I’d heard them before.

Once we got back I knew it was time to start getting to know the young ladies around Doro. There are plenty of young women (16-25yrs old) within a 1-10 minute walk from my house. Finding courage to just show up, not as easy! And then I read this...

Alright Lord- you're with me, I’m going out, and without thinking much more I grabbed my bag, notebook and phone and walked towards a few homes, peeking in and seeing no women continued walking (thinking in my head “phew one house down!”) but the last one I came to had about 4 women sitting together. I was able to greet them, introduce my name, and say “I don’t understand” to all they said. After about an hour I said, “’Ya ootta baanji- I am going home” to which they said something else. I once again responded with, “I don’t understand” and they motioned for me to go. It was rather awkward but it was also my very first time showing up here in Doro at someone’s house alone with little to no Mabaan.

Fast forward a week. I’ve studied quite a bit of words and our compound worker and guard have been the best language helpers. With a few more words and phrases in my head (and a lot written down in my notebook) I walked out the gate to Helima’s house. I was introduced to her by my teammate and have been looking forward to visiting her. I walk in and no Helima. But there was an older women. I greet her in Mabaan. In my broken Mabaan I ask her “Is this Helima’s home?” she says yes. I ask, “Where is Helima”… “she’s gone to the market”… she tells me to sit, brings water and sits beside me. (All in Mabaan)

My heart starts racing. Lord Jesus, please give me understanding. And I pray Helima comes home soon! Amen.”

She starts asking me questions (in Mabaan). Between the few words I know, hand gestures and lots of laughs we actually had a conversation. Helima didn’t return for over an hour. I learned this sweet lady, Naomi, is either the mother-in-law or aunt to Helima’s husband. She taught me 3 colors, red, blue & yellow. She taught me the word for fingernails & toenails, she helped me learn the phrase “what are you doing?” and so much more. About half way through my visit we were talking about different people in the family. With help from Helima repeating what Naomi had said, it connected, “you are my friend”. Insert tears!

Another sweet moment happened when they started singing. I listened for awhile and then in between songs I said, "In Mabaan" started singing, Jesus loves me this I know… before I got anything else out she started in Mabaan. I quickly grabbed my phone and turned on the voice recorder and then gave her a thumbs up. I’ve had it on repeat all morning. “Yeccu ani ‘ya”… Jesus love me. 🎵

To be honest I didn’t want to leave. I was having such a fun time. I drank so many cups of coffee and barely was able to put my notebook and pencil down cause Naomi kept teaching me new words and phrases and made sure I wrote them down. They walked me about halfway home (I can see their home from my home so not far) and I asked “will you go to church tonight?” two big smiles responded with headshakes nodding yes. “Pwetcin-Good!” I walked the rest of the way trying to hide my excitement on my face. I hope to have more encouraging visits in the next few days, may God continue to give me courage and understanding.

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