This post will be short. Because I am telling you about how sadly lacking my French is. I could make it really long by telling you just how annoying that was, but you wouldn’t want to read that diatribe. I’ll just tell you about my two dorky experiences.
The first was actually not so much dorky as awkward, but fun nonetheless. I was walking down to the beach and as I passed a man on the neighborhood road, I said, “Bonsour!” (good afternoon). The man responded in kind but then immediately engaged me in conversation with the teensy bit of English he knew, liberally sprinkled with French and something I think was Wolof or Serer. I could grasp enough to catch that his name was Omar, but that was about it. Omar did not let that deter him. No, what followed was a 20 minute, mostly one-side, mostly French conversation (sic) as we walked toward the beach. There was something about shoes and a journal. And we parted ways both smiling and cordially.
And then there was the impromptu djembe lesson I got pulled into at the resort on our R & R day. This was dorky AND awkward. A very nice musician showed me his djembe (an African drum) and said a lot of stuff in French with added charades and the next thing I knew I was sitting on a bench (in my swimsuit, very awkward) learning to play and attempting to sing “Proud Mary” without losing the beat. After my lesson he confided in me that he really liked Tracy, our intern, and wanted to take her out to a disco that night. At this point I thought, “Language barrier, schmanguage ----” and I launched into a rapid English explanation of why she was busy and could not go and I must have communicated well enough with my eyebrows that he figured it out. And again, we parted ways quite cordially and with smiles and thank yous.
So now I intend to learn some French and I have to do it fast because I would really love to go back to Senegal, but this time I'd prefer to able to speak intelligently with Omar and at least be able to get an intern out of a blind date with no confusion.
We are missionaries with Engineering Ministries International, based in Colorado Springs, and traveling around the globe to serve.
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