As some have noticed, I've been pretty lazy with posting lately. We've been more busy, but still not really that busy overall. Its just an excuse!
I did start doing some new volunteer work with some Somalis in the area!! The group I volunteer with does ESL classes and driving lessons that are all covered by donations. They do men's and women's classes for new immigrants on alternating days. There are a decent number of Somalis, but they and the classes are basically on the complete opposite side of the city from me ;-(
That's really the only downside though.
At this point I am only volunteering one day a week because of the distance issue. I helped teach at the preschool during the women's classes, and translated for the Somali women afterward as they set up their driving appointments. Its also great because I get to have Layla with me the whole time. I am really excited about what this may lead to! New friendships, Somalis, helping people. All my favorite things in one place.
One of the main teachers is basically the Swahili-speaking version of me. She is white and American but grew up for a number of years in Kenya and speaks Swahili fluently. Most of the Somalis here are Bajuni, from the Southern coastal area, and so they speak Swahili. They speak Somali too, but the dialect I learned is the northern variety. We can understand each other, but they were telling Jeanette in Swahili that I speak "professional" Somali, as the dialect I speak is the one used in Radio, TV and newspapers for the most part ;-) Its actually the best one to know because everyone understands you and you understand almost everything the others say.
Now that I'm doing this, I am obsessed with Somali everything again at the moment. I am trying to read the BBC Somali news each day and also listen to radio broadcasts, etc just to keep myself learning. You can begin to forget things so quickly when you don't use them.
We're also planning Layla's 2nd Birthday party for Sunday, but I'll leave that for another post.