I found my translator for Iyoli. Moshi and I were sitting at the hotel restaurant drinking coffee and a young 10 year old girl came up to us and started speaking in (almost) perfect english. I was so tired and dusty from the bumpy ride to Kondoa town, which took over 7 hours, so I just wanted to sit and sip my coffee. I have to admit that sometimes it is easier not to trust people and just turn away, which I almost did with this young girl, Baraka, because I thought she was going to ask me for money. Moshi recognized her intelligence and kept asking her questions and she was lovely and smart and just wanted to talk.
We spent the rest of the evening speaking with her and her sister Fatima, who is 18, my daughter’s age. I told Baraka that my brain was like a little baby (watoto) speaking Swahili and that I would like her to teach me how to speak swahili like an adult. So each time I made a mistake, she corrected me, each time I didn’t know a word I turned to her and asked how to say what I needed to say. It was a little weird that our roles were reversed, she the teacher and I the student. She reminded me of Jamie at Strathcona, smart and inquisitive and hungry to learn.
I played them the video of the Strathcona students and they loved it, especially the song. So many times during this project I had this nagging thought questioning why I was spending so much time working for nothing, and in that moment it made sense, to find friendship and community, here and in Vancouver. Even though this young girl was only 10 it was easy to see that someday, if given the right opportunities, she could change the world around her.
…so tomorrow we are going to talk to her mother who is a nurse at the local hospital to see if she will allow Baraka to come with us to the village as my translator.