That’s Mandika for mother goat big sea. We all found out our languages yesterday morning. I’d say slightly less than 50% of my fellow stagieres are learning Wolof, which is the predominant language in Senegal. The rest of us are learning minority languages, including several kinds of Pulaar (representing the distinct locations of Pulaar people), a few Sereres, and last but not least, the Mandinka! (Plus my one friend is learning Jaxante, a language related to Mandinka, but spoken in an even smaller region of Senegal.)
Baa was the first word we learned in class. And when I found out that depending on context baa could mean four different things, the myriad of linguistic faux paux I will be making splayed out like a game of “pick up the cards.” In class we’ve already found, though, that nearly everything we say sounds like a song, so that’s fun. And I’ve got a really great CBT (Community Based Training) group, so I look forward to getting to know them through our faux paux, etc. Oh, and the reason CBT has that C in there, is because we leave today for home stays with families who speak our language. I can currently say “hello,” “how are you,” “peace only,” “isn’t it bad news?,” “no bad news,” “what is your name?,” “my name is Mary.” So here goes nothing. At all. I’m off with absolutely nothing. Except plenty of classes in CBT and a family who has seen a PCT go through this before.
I’ll be back at the center in a week, so I’ll up date you then, inshallah.