Mar 9, 2010

Minding the store

Today it got even lonelier as the girl who minds the store left to take care of her sick child (I had no idea she even had a kid). My host sister went to buy some stock for the store, so I agreed to watch over things until she got back. Though I was the only person actually from my family around, it wasn't too boring as I was selling a great deal of electricity, airtime, sweets, and single cigarettes. My kids from school hung around a lot, as there's not a lot to do, but as they tend to fight constantly I usually kicked them out (wonder if that's got anything to do with the corporal punishment? Nah, couldn't be).

My Setswana is getting better and better, but honestly I still struggle with a simple conversation. I think that I'm close to a tipping point, where I will be able to understand most conversations, and thus will get better faster and faster. I think the main problem with the (utterly half-assed) language training during training is that it didn't get us anywhere close to that tipping point. (I would compare it to a semester or two of high-school language.) Dragging yourself to that tipping point, especially in a place where nearly everyone speaks some English, is tough.

Apparently the Peace Corps has been getting complaints from the State Department that their language program isn't working well here, and I reckon that's why. I think I'm one of the better speakers in my group, and I doubt I will be fluent by the end. Of course, some people will make it, but to increase that fluency rate they need to make the language part of training much more intensive.

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