Entry #36: Osiibye otya eyo! Greetings from Busoga.

Date: 23 June 2019
Time: 20:05
Location: Lil Sleeping Quarters

Come again?

Greetings friendo!

The first day of Lusoga intensive language training was basically a review of what we have been learning prior to our homestay placements. These next five weeks are all about learning the language of the communities that we will be placed in, therefore, our goal is to gain basic fluency in order to gain trust with our community members.

Some of the basic phrases we were taught include:

English Lusoga Transliteration
Good morning! Wasuze otya eyo! How have you slept?
Good afternoon! Osiibye otya eyo! How was your day?
Hello Jambo (Swahili) Hi

This is a simplification, like for any introduction to language, of how to greet others. Some things you could include titles of “sir” or “madam” or make them informal. And, like in any language, there are MANY variations and alternatives to greet and respond based on context and relationship.

What else did you learn?

Don’t underestimate the kids of Africa.

Two messages to get across:

  1. The kids here are smarter than you could imagine. Their thirst for knowledge and genuine kindness is unparalleled. They are brave and they are more than capable to handle themselves by the time they are 10, 11 or 12. Seriously.
  2. Language is simply a skill in communication, there is nothing mystifying about it. Just because you are “American” or have never learned a language before, does not displace you to not learn any language.

Stereotypes are only part of the truth, it does not encompass the entire picture.

While I am asian, the stereotypes of being good at math and science does not fully describe who I am. I am not inherently good at math and science, or any other skill for that matter, it is through the value of hard work under an Asian household that got me to where I am.

Many messages that portray Africa as the land of the poor and weak completely disregards the world of Africa that has been surviving for thousands of years. While from the outside we live different lives from the people in Africa, such as using buckets for bathing and holes in the ground for the restroom, the mind, spirit and hospitality of the African people are not so much different. The world only sees part of the picture. Every society in the world is subject to be inflicted with disease, hunger, and less than ideal living conditions.

What the media never seems to reveal is that these people are strong. While some of these messages may be true, there is another message that is missing from the big picture: they are some of the smartest, brave, and incredibly welcoming people that I have met.

I am not speaking out of bias for the sake of being in the Peace Corps, I’m saying this for the sake of spreading awareness that the world outside of your country is incredible. The colloquial knowledge of the communities spread across the globe is way beyond any information behind a Google search. And the only way you can really learn about these differences, is to live in the way that others do.

This is why I joined Peace Corps.

To help others understand that the world is so much larger than the lands that we occupy. Be open-minded about the world we live in, it’s much easier to go through life that way 🙂

1 Comment

  • FRANCES WANG , July 11, 2019 @ 10:50 am

    “the world outside of your country is incredible” & “And the only way you can really learn about these differences, is to live in the way that others do.” really spoke to me. Just reading through your own testimony makes me so ready and excited to live my year abroad. miss ya

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