Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Feburary 15th, 2010

Hi everybody! Well, I'm into my third week in SA. We arrived at our home stay’s last weekend and I'm living in a small village called Machipe. I found out the day before I came to the village that I would be learning Xitsonga (x is pronounced sh). I've had a week of classes and a little is starting to seep in. It was an oral (as opposed to written) language so it's often difficult to teach us as we assume there should be lots of rules etc but there really aren't any. The teacher always responds 'it just doesn't sound right' when we ask why it is structured the way that it is, when we think there is a pattern and then she writes something that breaks the pattern. I am staying with the Moloko family. I have my own room inside the house. Gogo Joanne lives in a room separated from the main house with a nice thatched roof (it is much much cooler than a tin roof). Maggie and her three kids, Hope (12), Letabo(8) and Silo(18 months) stay in the main house and Umpo (25?) stays in a room on the other side of the house. Umpo also serves as my translator since Gogo, Maggie and the kids don’t speak English. My host father is a construction worker (he lives and works in Joberg). That might explain why they have a shower and a kitchen 5 times the size of my last one in DC. Don't worry though; I do still have to use a pit toilet (sometimes called a ‘long drop’) that is located outside about 20 feet from the house. Too bad it’s in the front yard where any passerby can see where you’re headed... it's not that bad though. Anyways things are going well. Class schedules are crazy busy but I'm trying keep up with all the info.

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