Friday, April 15, 2011

All About Ed and Jeannie

We get feedback frequently either in comments on the blog or direct email. Our good friend from Chapel Hill, NC, Ed, and my sister-in-law from Smyrna, GA, Jeannie, are two of the most “regular” commenters. Thank you, Ed and jeannie!

So today, I’m answering their questions as our blog entry. We figured others may have the same questions. And just for fun, I’ll include some Kriol (with translation) so you’ll get a taste of what we’re trying to learn J

Before we start, here’s a pronunciation key. It’s very phonetic. And NO double consonants; NO initial c, use k instead; NO initial dr, use jr instead; NO th, use t intead; NO initial tr, use chr instead; NO oun or own, use ong instead. Word that ends in vowel followed by hn takes the vowel sound with nasal close, but the n is not pronounced, kinda like French. Mi before a verb makes it past tense. Kyant memba aal di roolz.
a = ah
aa = aah
ai = long i sound
ay = long a sound (with a little eh at the end – don’t worry about it)
e = short e sound, like eh
ee = long e sound
i = almost a long e sound
o = short o sound
oa = long o sound (with a tiny little ah at the end – don’t worry about it)
oo – same as English, like choo-choo
u – uh

Here goes. Questions from Ed:
No problem I’m your Internet and IT research office!  Can you see the Beez Pond from your host family’s home (or almost see it)? You know, no big forest or other large structures in the way?  If you have a line of sight from the Beez Pond? 
Too bad for us. We are about a mile and a half from the Beez Pond, with two hills between L
Wi gat badlokid. Wi no kud si di Beez Pon schrayt.

Karaoke at the Beez Pond
Sheep! Not goats, well that puts my animal husbandry in doubt :-). They look pretty fat, but not too wooly. Are the sheep for wool or food? Wouldn't seem to be much use for wool near the equator? If you find out more about the sheep let us know!
I think I mentioned in a previous blog entry that the sheep have it pretty good here; they get to wander around. But that’s only until it’s time for supper. No wool needed here.
Ai tink Ai mI seh bifoa dehn sheep gat di gud laif; dehn goa drif bowt. Bot den wi gwain eet dehn. Ih too hat hat fi wul!

Do nights get cool enough?
Well, define “cool enough.” We have a fan in our bedroom which makes things bearable when we go to sleep. Sometimes during the night, I have to face the fan away from us, or pull the sheet up. The last two nights we were cool – got down below 70, I think.
Eniting anda 80 da KOAL!

Is cooking electric, gas, or something else? For the people without power, or limited power, how do they cook?
More than 80% of the residents have electricity either directly or through a drop from someone’s house. Our house has gas stove and oven, and also electricity. Some people use propane cooktops.
Moas pipl gat di korant; lata pipl gat da shyaa wid ada pipl. Wi gat boat korant ahn gyas fi kuk ona tap ahn di oavm. Sohn pipl yuus wahn propayn stoav.

Oh and I forgot to mention, I zoomed in to look at the sheep and discovered you guys are taking really high quality photographs!
Well, high praise coming from a techno-master!

I can’t imagine computers are very common in Belize. Speaking of which, what are you using for a computer? I mean how do you get everything on to your blog? Do you have a tablet, laptop, or netbook?  Or do you just take pictures off your camera and compose the blog entry while seated in an Internet CafĂ©? I’d love to hear what kind of hardware is actually keeping us together…And your host family’s TV? Is this satellite or Cable?
Many people have computers here, but they are likely to be pretty old. Businesses are pretty up-to-date with their technology. Steve and I both have netbooks. His is a MacBook Air – Niiiice. And mine is a super-cheap Toshiba Satellite – hate the keyboard, but I’m getting used to it. Typically Steve or I write the entry during the week, decide what pictures we want to use, and then paste the text and upload the pictures when we get to the Peace Corps office, using the blog editor. Our host family has cable, brought to us by a cable on top of the ground from one house to the next.
Yu gat a lada kweshans! Wi gat kampyootas eena Bileez. Mai kampyoota da Toshiba ahn fi hihn da Mac. I da kampyoota wizgyal. Rait da stof ahn put op di werdz at di Pees Koar Aafis. Eezi! Wi gat caybl, mein.

And these are from Jeannie:

I'm curious to learn more about the community organization program and how that works there? I wonder about the tv programming content and the media culture influence?  Especially on kids.
You’re in luck, Jeannie. The blog entry just before this describes how the PC teaches us to help with community development. I also wrote a little bit in a previous entry about the violence on broadcast news. Other than that, I’m seeing most kids wanting to be like American kids – clothing, music, attitudes!
Yu go rid di neks wahn op.

I noticed the horse.  Any horseback riding?
One of the other PCTs (Peace Corp Trainees) near us has ridden while she’s been here. I’m pretty much not going to be trying it. ALL the animals have fleas and skin diseases. It will be awhile till I’m ready to deal with their problems rubbing off on me. I’ve got enough bites and bumps and itches just from walking to class every day.
Wahn Chraynee mi raid di haas las wik. Shee da laik ih, bot Ai no laik no haas raidn. Dehn bogs gwain jraiv mi krayzi, krek!

Your images and posts somehow make me think that your environment is quite relaxing because of its simplicity.  It's all about the connections with people?  You both look very happy.
The lifestyle here IS pretty laid back. We hear jokes all the time about Belizean time. The people are SO friendly, and ready to help or have a nice conversation (with the exception of the next door neighbor and her early-morning wake-up habits. By the way, this morning it was a 5:45 wake-up). But honestly, I’m feeling lots of stress (Steve less so, I think) just because everything is different, because I never know when some critter is going to jump on me (a bat flew through the house this morning), because of the strange sounds (I’m a light sleeper anyway), because of the dangerous highway we have to walk on at least twice a day, because of being thrown in with the same 6 or 7 people every day in 98 degree heat while we try to work as a team under pressure. I have every confidence that I will get used to this and adapt and love it here. I just needed to whine awhile.
Ai alataim waahn smail fi di kamara :--)

Hope you enjoyed!


e.hutton said...

I can't believe I picked this up late! Doing our taxes this weekend and lost track of time. I saw the RSS feed today. And got THREE blog enteries! Yeah!

Thanks for the techo info on how you connect. I think I have a good picture.

Oh and don't sweat the culture shock. It would happen no matter what country you go to, and if the peace corp hasn't mentioned it yet?

You'll have 'reverse culture shock' when you return to the US. Seriously, I know it seems funny now, but just wait...

It will take awhile to get used to the way things 'get done' in your host country. Little by little you'll integrate and things will become 'normal' or maybe your 'new normal' but it can be quite emotionally and physically 'jarring' at first.
Don't be shocked by your reactions and you'll soon enough sort everything out.

I got a kick out of the Kriol lessons embedded in the post. For me the sooner I started trying to only think in my host country's language the easier speaking the new language became. I wish someone told me that early. Don't think in English and then try to translate. Just think in Kriol, it gets easier and easier and pretty soon you're having conversations and never think a word in English.

You'll see! Wait till you dream something in Kriol then you know you have arrived!

Carol said...

I sent the hats today. Love Carol