Kiswahili learning continues…

Our 2nd week of learning Kiswahili has continued to go well.  Bwana John is instructing us Monday – Friday from 8:30 to 12:30.  We continued our study of how to say things using prepositions (in, beside, under, and on) as we picked up and put down various objects, describing to him what we did.  Additionally, we added colors and numbers to the objects, making it especially challenging.  Some colors in Kiswahili have different language rules for how you place them in the sentence, which we will need to wade through, as we understand their various usages in different settings.

Learning language with our language helper Bwana John

Learning language with our language helper Bwana John


“He just put the ‘green’ candle on the ‘red’ mug”…”Amewekalea mshumaa la rangi ya kijani kibichi juu ya kikombe nyeupe.”

Our current daily schedule runs something like this each day:

0830-0930 – We speak only Swahili with our instructor and no English is spoken, as we discuss what happened yesterday and work on previous material.  This is basically the comedy hour each day as we struggle to make conversation with our very limited Kiswahili vocabulary.

0930-1030- New lesson material begins as we use Kiswahili, but English is spoken as well, to ask questions and discuss needed matters.

1030-1100 – Break for Chai and a snack.  We love this time.  It is also a great time for us to learn from our instructor about life in Kenya.

1100-1215 – Continued work on our lesson for the day.

1215-1230 – John ends the lesson with a Bible story in Kiswahili, we listen and write down what we can understand.

'He put the green book on the black mug'...'Anawekalea kitabu la rangi ya kijani kibichi juu ya kikombe nyeuse."

“He is putting the ‘black’ book on the ‘yellow’ mug”…”Anawekalea kitabu nyeuse juu ya kikombe la rangi ya manjano.”

Our instructor "bwana" John, bwana means Mr.

Our instructor “Bwana” John,
giving us instructions. 
Bwana means Mr.

After lunch Lesli, Lydia, and Abraham begin their schoolwork for the day, which makes for a full day.  I am so proud of how they are tackling language learning and then moving on to their normal school routine, with much enthusiasm.

I find myself working on various projects as we continue to get our home set up.  Right outside of our neighborhood we have many ‘dukas’, or small shops, selling produce and various other items, which is great for our language learning as we have ample opportunity to practice our Kiswahili with the Kenyans who work nearby.  On Thursday at the market, I was able to bumble my way through pineapple, papaya, egg and tomato purchases in my limited Kiswahili.  I could ask how the various merchants were doing, how much something cost, tell them where I work, and bid them goodbye.  Very limited conversations, but it was a good day of feeling that progress was being made.

During the evening we spend time getting prepared for our next day’s lesson.  We are using a ‘learner driven’ method of language acquisition, which means that we need to be prepared to lead the instructor in what we want to learn each day.  This has many benefits, but it also takes a lot of time in preparation.

We go to bed very tired each night after a full day of learning.  It is funny how the mental work of learning something new can wipe you out each day.

Thank you for praying for us as God helps us teach our minds and tongues new things.  ~Dan