Languages have always interested me. When I as little I learned Spanish from my parents. It is also because of them that I can speak French. When they first came to Canada they thought that everybody spoke both English and French and not wanting their children to be at a disadvantage, they put us all in French school. I was fortunate enough to be admitted into a French first language school, and I can now proudly say that I am trilingual! Since learning French, I have not attempted nor had the opportunity to learn a new language…until now.
Since my arrival in Tanzania, I have been able to learn a little Swahili everyday, albeit very slowly! The learning started during the first day of YCI Orientation. We learned common phrases and words that could be useful to us in everyday life. To me, these Swahili lessons were the best part of orientation and once I got to Morogoro, I was able to put my learning to the test!
I am always eager to learn new words in Swahili. Whether it be sitting around watching a movie with my homestay family or having a conversation with the local volunteers, there are a number of opportunities each day to learn the language. And I have found that Tanzanians are just as happy to teach you new words if they see you trying! I think they really appreciate the effort, and the people who attend our sessions always seem equally surprised and pleased when they hear us foreigners say the few phrases we know in Swahili! Whenever possible I try to slip in a few words that I know in Swahili into my conversations with Tanzanians. The response is almost always the same: a big smile and a few chuckles!
-Linda Marroquin-Ponce, Youth Ambassador, Tanzania 2012
YCI is currently recruiting a volunteer team for Tanzania. Click HERE for details on our 8-week fall project.