Helen and Alastair - some background

Helen and Alastair - some background : We have always hoped to return to Africa once more before we're too old (perhaps we already are!). Alastair first went to Africa in 1974 as a junior doctor, working for the Church of Scotland in a small hospital in Transkei, South Africa. I met Alastair there in 1982, were married in 1984 and continued in Transkei until 1988. From there we went to Kenya, as employees of the Church of Scotland, where Alastair ran Chogoria Hospital. We left in 1995, with Alec, Peter and Becky to establish the children's schooling and our work in Britain. Here Alastair found himself as consultant in Breast cancer surgery, and Helen initially trained and worked as a GP before "evolving" to full time ordained ministry. Alec is now married to Ruth, and they have baby Zach; Pete is in his final year of medicine in Edinburgh, and Becky half way through nurse training in Oxford.

The Diocese of Western Tanganyika is a partner of Gloucester diocese. The plan is for Helen to join the teaching staff of the Bible College, teaching those preparing for ministry. Alastair will teach English to the students at the college, as well as doing some surgery at the church-run hospitals, and helping with project management in the Diocese.
We will keep you updated on our plans over the next few months and will greatly value your prayer support. Our current prayer requests - and thanks to God of course - will be posted on the side bar.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Language lessons

Alastair is UNDER the car
Alastair is ON the bed!
 Alastair and I both teach English in the Bible College - and I continue with my little class for local women. We teach at different levels; some classes being complete beginners and others slightly more advanced. I've certainly learnt a lot about English, and how complicated it is - no wonder the students struggle.
Preparing good, engaging lessons is always important, and I find using pictures very helpful. So here's a good example of prepositions!
Both pictures say quite a lot about our everyday life as well. Maintenace of the car is ongoing - the car, a second hand Nissan Terrano, has been a great success but driving on the very bumpy roads regularly knocks off bits of body work and suspension . So when Alastair has finished with his patients in the hospital he sometimes has to come home and continue operating! There are very competent, creative and cheap local mechanics as well - £1-20 for a pucture repair.
The afternoon siesta is also an important feature of life, when possible. I've had discussions with my students about whether one sleeps ON the bed; or IN the bed - I think it depends on the weather, and here it is usually ON!!
Swahili is a Bantu language, with a very different structure than English. The basic vocabulary is small, but words are adapted and used in different ways. Nouns are in classes, so that adjectives, pronouns, possessives etc must all agree with the noun. Many "modern" words have been borrowed from English, with adaptation of the pronunciation and phonetic spelling .
Here are a few to try : Komputya;  Faili; Ofisi; Laptopu; picha; Krismas; kwaya; dereva; supu; sheti, koti.
(answers next week!)

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