Tag Archives: orientation

This has been a good week.

I’ve learned new songs, met new people, can do three new frisbee throws with varying degrees of success (the hammer, the air-bounce, and the reverse hammer), and have been much more continuously social than I am accustomed to.

I leave in two hours. I could be ready to go in two minutes, and would probably prefer that to continuing to sit around. Day-and-a-half travel marathon, here I come.



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This is a marvelous place for languages

I’ve been dragging out my far-too-rusty Portuguese, doing (semi-) simultaneous translation into and out of Spanish, vaguely following French conversations and translation, understanding occasional German words, and not remotely understanding Ndebele and Arabic and Korean and any number of other languages.

In addition, we have had fifteen minutes of global music every morning, which we organize ourselves. The first morning was Canadian and US music, both praise songs and hymns (which I led. I’ve never done that before, and I wasn’t intending to, but I volunteered to announce the songs, and the first one I announced felt like it needed someone to lead it, and no one else jumped up to volunteer, so I did. I didn’t do a particularly good job, but it was fun, and I’m sure I’ll get better if I keep doing it). And I have LOVED the music. I’m learning new songs, or new languages to songs I already know (“Lord I Lift Your Name on High” in French! And German!).

Here are a few of the songs I’ve learned:

“Gloria, Aleluya”
Rey de reyes, señor de señores, gloria, aleluya (x2)
Christo, principe de paz, gloria, aleluya (x2)
Men sing the bold, women sing the italics, and you stand up when you sing and sit when you don’t. This one reminds me of the “Praise Ye The Lord/Alelluia” that splits into gendered parts. Here’s a youtube video (ignore the weird background music).

“Hakuna Akaita” (I think this one is Ndebele; it’s from Zimbabwe. We also sang it in the language spoken in Lesotho (Basotho, maybe? Something with a prefix), but I don’t have the words for that.) Here’s a link, but we sang better. There are motions, too; you walk, turn, and search on the first three lines of the second stanza.
Hakuna akaita sa Jesu
Hakuna akaita sa ye
Hakuna akaita sa Jesu
Hakuna, Hakuna woooo

Tamhanya-mhanya kwese kwese
Tatenderera kwese kwese
Tatsvaga-tsvaga kwese kwese
Hakuna-kuna wooo.
There’s no one, there’s no one like Jesus
There’s no one, there’s no one like him
There’s no one, there’s no one like Jesus
There’s no one, there’s no one like him

I’ve walked, I’ve walked all over
I’ve turned, I’ve turned all over
I’ve searched, I’ve searched all over
There’s no one, there’s on one like Him.

“Salam Salam”
Salam salam le sha’eb EL-RAB fe koli makan (x2)
Peace peace for people of GOD everywhere (x2)

I don’t have music for that one, and I can’t sing it terribly well because the Arabic flows much better than the English, but it’s gorgeous.

“Te Alabare/Eu Te Louvarei” (Music and Spanish words, no portuguese, and only pay attention to the first three minutes; it gets weird after that)
Eres tú la única razón
De mi adoración, oh Jesus!
Eres tú la esperanza
que anhele tener, ah Jesus!

Confié en ti me has ayudado
Tu salvación me has regalado
Hoy hay gozo en mi corazón
Con mi canto te alabare

Te alabaré, te glorificaré
Te alabaré mi buen Jesus

En todo tiempo te alabaré
En todo tiempo te adoraré

És Tu única razão da minha adoração ó Jesus

És Tu única esperança que anelo ter ó Jesus

Confiei em ti fui ajudado, sua salvação tem me alegrado

Hoje há gozo em meu coração com meu canto te louvarei

Eu te louvarei, te glorificarei

Eu te louvarei meu bom Jesus

Em todo tempo te louva-rei, em todo tempo te adora-rei

Eu te louvarei, te glorificarei

Eu te louvarei meu bom Jesus

“In Jesus Christ, We Are One Family”
In Jesus Christ, we are one family
In Jesus Christ, we are one family
In Jesus Christ we are one family
From now on and forever more
In Jesus Christ, we are one family

We also sang that one in Kmai(?) and Chinese and maybe something else, but I didn’t catch any of those words well enough to find them (and I had trouble singing them, anyway). There’s an eight-beat clapping motion to this one, too. You start with your left hand palm up and your right hand palm down on your neighbor’s right hand, and the eight beats go:
clap/slap neighbor’s hand
slap right thigh with right hand
slap left thigh with right hand
slap back of left hand with right hand
snap (both hands)

And then you get faster.

Have a bonus video, too. We watched this talk, “The Danger of a Single Story,” in one of the sessions, and I found it really interesting. I think it’s worth 20 minutes.


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Did you know

That in Jordan, a guy you are sleeping with is your boyfriend, but someone you are merely dating is your lover? I certainly didn’t, and this puzzled us for a while until we figured out that we were having linguistic difficulties. I am currently much more informed about the state of affairs in Jordan than I was previously, although I’m still somewhat confused, because my informant’s English is less than perfect, and I catch fewer of the fine details the later it gets. But that is one of the fruits of this evening’s fireside chat. (I am constantly amazed by the way people are so impressed by my firestarting skills. I only used one match, but I also used two sheets of newspaper, and the wood was dry. And they were impressed before they knew about the one match.)

I have also learned that Korean ramen-noodles-from-a-package are better than American ramen noodles, but also MUCH spicier. Isaac would like them.

Today we played ultimate frisbee barefoot in the rain, except for the people who played soccer barefoot in the rain. This was, of course, after sessions about the SALT policies, culture shock and coping mechanisms, and living with a host family, and small groups with people going to and coming from regions, discussing questions about how people interact on a daily basis.


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So well-oriented I am dizzy

I’ve arrived in Akron and had a day and a half of orientation so far. My roommate is from Zimbabwe (which ajoins Zambia, for those of you not up on African geography), and we’ve had a number of really interesting conversations: “So Americans even wash their pants/underwear in the washing machine, too? We hand-wash it every night. Your underwear is very personal; you wouldn’t want someone else washing it.” “How much do groceries cost for a family for a week? And how many people is a family?” (She said ~$50 for a family of eight. I’m not sure if this is USD or Zimbabwean dollars, and if there is a notable difference, but it didn’t seem important enough to ask.) “Do you have [this particular brand of makeup] in the States?” That one was interesting because I had no idea what she was talking about, and even though we both speak English, if we aren’t careful, the words just glide off each others’ ears, the accents and stresses are so different. And the Ndebele accent aside, it’s British English (bath-ing, not bathe-ing; trousers, not pants (pants, not underwear); spectacles, not glasses, and so on.)

Perhaps I should back up a little for more explanation. SALT participants (me, among others), are oriented along with IVEP participants, who are young adults from other countries who will be serving in the US and Canada. So we have 96 young adults running around, about 2/5 international and 3/5 North American (I don’t know how many SALT people are from Canada, maybe 1/4?), which makes for a very interesting, vibrant, and exhausting mix. We all have name tags, but I still feel like I don’t know anyone’s name. And I know that I do recognize people, but for every person I recognize, there are three that I know I played frisbee with yesterday, or talked to for fifteen minutes about going to Indonesia two hours ago, or discussed Arabic names with over breakfast, whose names I don’t remember, which can be terribly frustrating if I’m not careful. I’m sure it’s good practice, though. And it feels like camp. Or my first week at Smith. Lots of meeting new people and informational sessions and an odd feeling of not-quite-the-real-world.

The sessions so far have been of varying interest, and I’m sure they are, on the whole, useful, but one only has so much attention in the day, and I’ll admit that it was a lot of work to continue listening to the program director go on about the early history of MCC . . .

I must dash.

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