Saturday, March 1, 2008

Aprendamos Kirundi!!

Some days I really love my job. At school we've enrolled 35 refugees from Africa and Asia in the last 5 months. Sialeo is one of the 6 kindergarten-2nd graders that I get to work with every day. She's beautiful and smart, she loves to laugh, and she has the coolest hair of anyone I know! Thursday Sialeo was "sick" (I think not.) So while we waited...all day...for her mom to come and get her, I decided it was time I learned some Kirundi. You would be surprised that for a language 6 million people speak, the limited amount of resources actually available. After some hard searching I found a twelve page guide to words and phrases....in Spanish. I'm not sure how many Burundi refugees are moving to Latin America, but it must be a few because a Spanish-Kirundi guide was the only one this umuzungukazi (mujer blanca....white woman) could find. So I printed it off, took a deep breath, and sat down next to Sialeo to see if I could learn some Kirundi.

We covered everything..."Saludos, y prases mas usuales" (expressions and typical phrases), "En casa, clase o la oficina" (In the home, classroom, or office), "En la mesa" (On the table), "Comida" (food), "Personas y animales" (people and animals), and "Numberos. Los dias de la semana y el tiempo" (numbers. the days of the week and the time). Sialeo was a great teacher, she'd repeat words when my mouth couldn't quite get it out, and when I'd finally get one right she'd laugh and say "Yes, good job teacher!" Sialeo is amazing. She's only been in this country for 5 months and she knew the English word for almost everything I tried to say in Kirundi. I don't think she knew the English words for the phrase 'white woman', because when I said 'umuzungukazi', she pointed at me and said, "YES! YOU!" Enough writing...here are some pictures....







Umukobwa mwiza! Beautiful Girl!

I'm just not getting it....

Still not getting it....

Learning 'umugenzi'...friend.

Sialeo's first picture with a digital camera. When she looked down she freaked out because she thought she took my head off, so she looked up at me really fast to make sure that all of it was still there...

WHAT A GOOD DAY!

6 comments:

The Parke Family said...

After such a great day like that, Sialeo will never want to "just go to class" again! It's people like you, taking the time to truly connect with other people, that make the world so much brighter and better. Love your guts!
JoDell

Caitlin*Brinton said...

Haylie- That is so cool your getting to connect with kids from all over the world! You have so much more patience than I do and I wish I could steal some from you. Maybe it would rub off if you'd come see me sometime! Lets do a "just girls" cousin lunch/dinner at Chub-a-lub in the next couple weeks. You're amazing and I love you!

meg said...

Haylie!!!!!! I love you SOOOOO much! You are SOOOOOO good at blogging! Keep posting!

PS... That little girl is the most beautiful girl I have seen!

Codi said...

Hellooooo! You have some news to update! Congratulations Haylie!!! I'm so proud and excited for you. We need to chat so I can hear details. Love you!

Jesús Martínez said...

I suppose that you are talking about my web page. My name is Jesús Martínez, and this is a link to the web page: http://cecilia.ls.fi.upm.es/~jmartinez/wiki/index.php/Learning_Kirundi. Please, you should refer to the work of others.

Bryce said...

That is such an interesting story of your travels and adventures in Africa.

Here is a great site in Kirundi that may help you get some practice in the language:


Kirundi wiki browser