Sunday, September 4, 2011

Language Time

Written 8/31

I can’t believe I’ve only been here a week! On Tuesday Group 34 had our language reveal – but only after learning how to greet people in all 6 languages that people will learn for their sites! Greeting is a really big thing here – it is offensive to people when you don’t greet them when walking down the street in your community. I have really enjoyed this custom as everyone is so friendly! The languages that Group 34 is learning are: Oshindonga, Otjiherero, Oshikwanyama, Rukwangali, Khoekhoegowab [also known as KKG and a clicking language], and Afrikaans.  We were all given a little piece of paper that had an animal on it, and we walked around the room making that noise – mine was oink, until we found our group. I will be learning Afrikaans! This is the biggest language group, 14 people, but we’ll be split up into three groups for classes. I probably got this language because in my placement interview I said I would prefer a more urban environment [of course this is relative], which is where Afrikaans is spoken. Overall I am very happy with this language, though I definitely would have enjoyed learning a Bantu language too. Here is how you greet someone in the morning:

A: Goeiemore
B: Goeiemore
A: Hoe het jy/u geslaap?
B: Ek het goed geslaap, dankie, en u?
A: Ek het ook goed geslaap
B: Totsiens
A: Ja totsiens tot later

This language is cool! It kind of throws me off though because a lot of it looks so similar to English, some of it sounds like you’re just speaking English with a German accent, but then when you hear people speaking it fluently it’s hard to understand anything. Either way, training can finally be underway!

Also, today we had a fashion show after dinner! A bunch of the girls and a couple guys dressed up in traditional clothes from the different tribes within Namibia and strutted down the catwalk (aka the dining room of our training center). It was so fun and it ended in a Namibian dance party, in which our trainers taught us the “family dance,” which we told them is in fact known as the Electric Slide in America. Clearly some cheesy dances remain the same in every country...

 Roommates from the training center in Herero, Owambo, and Kavango attire

 Everyone in our traditional clothes!


  1. Claire how typical is it that you go halwafy around the world and still end up in a bright pink dress. let me try to sound surprised for a second. Also, I am really disappointed that you are not learning the clicking language, I want you to at least know some next time I see you!!!

  2. I'm loving the Owambo regalia. "Minnie Claire"...

  3. I agree with Mimi there. Anything you miss from home? Considering the crazy shipping times, you better tell me now so you can get it by the time the cravings come!

  4. This is so crazy! haha! I love the costumes- especially that one giant pink hat! Afrikaans will be such a good language to learn, as it is used more widely, isn't it? So much of this sounds just like what they do in ASB at Vandy! haha