Our first year here, actually within our first few weeks here, Marc and I took about 10 hours of Swahili lessons with another couple who had recently moved. We learned the important greetings, learned numbers and some key verbs and sentence structure. It was hard to do during such a big transition and with the small kids, but it felt good to make some quick progress. School then began and Marc lost any free time to dedicate to lanague. Finally in December 2013, I partnered with a few other ladies and began a language and culture program called GPA, or Growth Participator Approach. For eleven months, I spent 3 hours a day, 3 days a week, studying KiSwahili with a few other ladies. After a few months in a group of 6, we paired off into twos. My main partner, Angie, also has a young daughter just a few months older than Geneva, so the two of us were constantly interrupted with requests for juice, TV shows, naps, bathroom breaks, arguments, etc. I'm pretty sure the other two groups (whose kids were all in school) progressed MUCH quicker than we did. It was discouraging at times, as many days we felt like we were taking one step forward and two steps back instead of the other way around.
|My partner Angie with our friend and language helper, Lucy a few years ago.|
After about 11 months of language study, our language helper got very busy with a full time job and was unable to continue with us. We took a break for the holiday season and then actually never got started again!
This past year, HOPAC's Kiswahili teacher offered classes for the teachers during the school day. I wiggled my way into that as I am at school three days a week helping with assemblies. It was good, and early on I got moved from the intermediate class to the advanced class, but it was a more traditional style of language learning and I honestly did not practice or retrain most of what we covered this past year.
BUT THIS SUMMER....
The whole family is getting in on lessons! Our kids and three children from another family are going to work together with a language helper to begin learning vocab. The GPA approach,at least phase 1 where the kids will start, includes a lot of physical response and games - I actually really enjoyed it and think our kids will have a lot of fun with it as well! They will begin next week with 2 hours a day for 3 days a week. Marc and I are then going to work with the helper for about 5 hours per week as well.
I'll be sure to post some updates about our progress and maybe some pictures as well!
If you have any interest in the language approach we are using, check it out HERE