We really had no clue coming into this. We didn’t know what to expect. Our team members in Mbale raved about it but gave us very little details. So we showed up with our car full of stuff, our 2-1/2 year old, and a lost look on our face. And now, near the end of the second week of our training, we are starting to get into a rhythm here. Sort of.
The training thus far has been primarily focused on language learning, with a lot of time spent on teaching our ears and mouths to hear and make new sounds that lie outside of our normal English box. Turns out, the rest of the world has far more sounds than English and to learn to hear languages right, you have to expand your sound box. Who knew? Also, we’ve spent a lot of time learning new tools to engage in a new language. It also turns out that the best way to learn a language is NOT to start with grammar and a vocab list like my high school Spanish classes did, but rather to take in and experience the language in many different ways, similar to how a child learns language. And it helps that one of the main guys here at MTI is the basis of the Rosetta Stone technique…so there’s that!
In addition to language expansion, we are connecting with missionaries from around the world in our new “community.” We share living spaces (living rooms, outdoor space, dining hall, etc.) and have our own private bedroom. Our rooms are like hotel rooms without television or internet…to increase the community aspect.
Adalyn goes to school from 8:30am to 4pm, with a lunch break in the middle. She has about 5 other kids her age in her class and her teacher, Ms. Emily, is great. They are talking about feelings and languages and learning how to communicate what’s going on. It took some time to adjust going back to school all day, but she’s getting the hang of it. Plus, in case you missed the big news: Adalyn is potty-trained now. Yippee!!! That’s a big deal people!!!
One of the other things that we spend a lot of time on, and will spend more as the training goes along, is what do we do with all of the different expectations, emotions, responsibilities, and tensions that we feel with being in a new culture. What do we do with a “Yuck Duck” day and a “Yay Duck” day, or in the midst of an Africa-Slap? We honestly are just scratching the surface of these (so hopefully you’ll hear more about it from us later). We are finding ways each and every day to milk the most out of our time here. And I firmly believe that Compass was a God-ordained decision for us and He will use this time to prepare us for His service. And trusting Him is definitely where I want to stand!
Some more pictures of our training and facility…