Whoa, it’s been 4 months since I left home and tomorrow, 4 months since I got here. Sorta hard to believe. My arrival seems lost in the mists of history. But there has been enough changes and growth that in the last quarter that really makes it seem like I’ve been here that long. Language is still a work in progress but it resembles more like a comprehended language. Oh sure, the verbs still fly thick and fast and I hain’t got all the Spanish as well as the cultural idioms. But it’s coming. Language no longer seems like a barrier. Rather, it seems like a shocking fence. I know enough that if I’m not careful, I get stung.
And once one realizes a couple of the Spanish oddities, it becomes easier. Example, the word “hain’t” in the above paragraph. A person studying English will never come across that word in a textbook. I say never; I really don’t know. I’ve never studied English. I thank God that it’s one of my mother tongues because to learn such a complex and rule violating language would be muy dificil, very difficult. And I can’t recollect reading a rule that said “Attention please: Hain’t is not a word. Never! The only reason I know that the word is incorrect English is I recognize it to be a slang expression. Where I learned that…I don’t know. Probably from my teachers. (the thought is running through my head, Why can’t it be correct English? Who said that it is incorrect? And why should I follow his/their suggestion(s)? Sounds like some people’s arguments against God. But I digress to my original questions). And could it also be that pride is what prompts me to speak the best English I know how? The same pride that doesn’t want to make a fool out of myself by exposing my ignorance of Spanish?
Another example, students of Spanish may have come across the ‘dropping/ed S’ problem where sometimes the ending “S” of a word is merely hinted at. Well, there are times when one wonders “What S?”. It’s nonexistent. Mark and I were in Belleza once and, in the course of visiting one of the men in church while he and his men were loading sesame seeds for another company, I asked a Paraguayan how long he had worked with that particular company. “Ma die ano” was his response. Now, if I would have been unaware of the “Lost S” problem, the answer would have befoozled me. I could have assumed the man was talking Guarini. But, adding a “S” to all three of those words creates the sentence, “mas diez anos”, more than 10 years. Okay, there’s a “z” in there but it makes a “S” sound. I won’t even try to imagine how some of our Spanish sounds to others but at least those we interact the most with, hired clinic help, the staff at Mercantil, and some of the gas stations in town, understand where we as beginning Spanish speakers are coming from and understand us. And as helpful as they try to be, I can never be sure that the word they give me when I lack a particular word or phrase is the one that I actually want. And it’s a pain to carry around 5lbs of study helps when one quickly runs to town in the spirit of shopping. But so goes. The best way to learn is jump off the deep end. The ensuing struggle only ensures future strength.
Now, for this post’s pictures. Ain’t it a great feeling to complete a job or a project? The past month, 5 weeks, we’ve been working at removing a big old stump near the entrance to the clinic. I say we, it was mainly Joby, although I helped when I wasn’t busy with other projects elsewhere. But the fact remains that on Tuesday the last of it was ejected from Madre Tierra. Whew!
Here’s how it looked a week ago. Just a stubborn ole piece of wood.
Finally, it’s out and the fill in process can begin. The pic doesn’t really do justice to it but that hole is big enough to lay 4 people in and cover them up.
Again, it’s hard to see the size of this stump in this pic but that’s a big chunk of wood right there.
And for now, that’s all.