This is the package that carried our hearts through Paris, Dubai, and on to Ethiopia :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Language Barrier

So Noelle had asked about the language barrier that will be present between us and the boys, and it's an excellent question! Our boys speak Amharic, the official working language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. We know about five Amharic words which include how to say soccer goalie, dog, car, good, ...and butt. Our boys can speak more English than we can Amharic, and they are currently working on learning more as they wait for us to return for them. They can say I love you, mom and dad, come on, happy, soccer, play, eat, hungry, and many other words that I just cannot recall right now.
Each day that we were there, they remembered words we had taught them from the previous day. We were so proud of them! They are eager to learn, and they retain so much. We made use of hand signals when we needed to to get by, and it seemed to help. The language barrier will present some complications for us all in the beginning, as we could already tell from our time there with them. The hardest part was when the boys got into an argument, and we couldn't communicate with them to find out who was at fault, what happened, etc. Thankfully, several of the men on staff at America World were able to step in and help, to which I asked "Can you please come to the states with us too??". They were lifesavers. We also had a funny instance one day which had me temporarly panicking! N spotted a cat and said "mom - cat eat!" as he was rubbing his belly. I yelled over to Shane, "Babe, do they eat cats here? Please tell me they do not eat cats here!". N said again "Mom - cat! Eat!", but he was rubbing his belly this time with a sympathetic look on his face. I then realized that he was trying to tell me that the cat was hungry and needed to eat. Phew! He has sympathy for the cat, not desire to eat.
We are working on English/Amharic flashcards already which will help us to communicate with the boys during travel home, and we also have some English first words flashcards we will go through. A friend at church who is a teacher also has an online program she is going to go through with us that will help the boys a lot. They can see the words and hear the pronunciation of them, etc. We of course are nervous about the language barrier, but mostly because we want them to be able to communicate their needs to us. In many ways, it will be like having newborn babies who cannot tell you what they need, except for our boys will hopefully at least be able to show us. They are young, and we are confident they will learn quickly. Add that to your prayer lists! :)

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