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Something to Say for Every Occasion

July 6, 2011

My host mom had her baby yesterday! I came home from training and was surprised to hear the generator running on the porch. My sister Princess came running, grabbed my hand, and lead me inside to meet our new sister. The living room was packed with neighbors who stopped by to share congratulations and stayed for butter candy and Bollywood movies. My usual quiet corner was party-central as I sat down for dinner. Everyone was yelling congratulations to me in Kepelle and shrieking with delight to hear me able to respond. My family beamed with approval and I wished my Mano lessons were going so well.

Last week I started leaning Mano, a dialect most common in Nimba county, parts of Guinea and parts of Ivory Coast. (My host family speaks Kepelle, the most common dialect, and Gola in addition to Liberian English.) I’ll find out on Friday what school I’m placed at and next week Krista and I will travel north to see our house and meet our community. Mano is hard! I study every night before bed, but just can’t get my brain around the different sounds and structure. Did I mention it’s tonal? Oh, brother! I’m making smal-smal progress, though, and I’m sure plenty of people will want to help once we get settled in.

Today we spent the entire morning in Mano class. During break Krista and I went to my family’s shop to buy laundry soap and mango stick-candy from my brothers then stopped a woman with a bucket of donuts. $5LD for donuts! After break our teacher, Nya, announced we were going out into the community to speak Mano. He took us to two different restaurants that serve GB, a casava dish that’s similar to fu-fu and very popular in Nimba. I was abysmal, but everyone was very nice. I even heard someone behind me say, “Be nice. They’re trying very hard!”

The people of Liberia continue to astound me with their generosity, hospitality, and welcoming spirit. I look forward to what lies ahead!

My small small sister Fable

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Elaine permalink
    July 9, 2011 9:52 pm

    What a treat to get these updates. Your photos are beautiful and you sound grounded amid all of these changes… I am envious, even though I know that it’s all tremendously challenging. The PC is one of the features of this year’s Folk Life Festival and I think of you whenever it comes up.



  2. Hillary permalink
    July 12, 2011 2:40 pm

    Hi Bekka, Just wanted to let you know that you have an eager US reader thinking about you! Ever since you told me your plans at reunion, I have been checking your blog from updates from the other side of the world. I admire you and I look forward to continuing to read your updates! Cheers, H.Smith

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