Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Whoa, whoa, whoa...

Another good day of going around Port-au-Prince, meeting people, talking, practicing, writing translations, and so on. This really is the way to learn: my last post, when I mentioned sinking or swimming, I think I felt like I was sinking. Now, I know I'm still not very graceful, but I think my head is above water. I went with one of the other Brothers to the provincial house (about 10 minutes' walk), saw the place, and met a few of the Brothers. BIG HOUSE! 16 guys, or something like that, almost all of them younger than me. I talked for about an hour with the director, and by and large I did ok.

This evening was funny: the Brothers are as interested in learning English as I am in learning French, so they had me help them find some practice materials online. They came across some random page that had an MP3 of the song, "Row, row, row your boat," so the three of us were here singing for a good 15 minutes. They have a song in French that is set to the same tune, so we swapped lyrics and had a good time. The funny thing is that, listening to them singing, it made me wonder if my pronunciation sounds as strange to them as theirs does to me. Creole doesn't really have the "r" sound (they say it like a "w"), so one of the guys kept singing, "Whoa, whoa, whoa your boat," and I couldn't get him to make the "r" sound (maybe I should have told him one of my pirate jokes). I know my French is halting and awkward, but I feel like I say the words the way a Frenchman would -- maybe I can't hear the difference any more than the Haitian Brothers can hear the difference between "r" and "w".

Whoa, whoa, whoa...or as they would say,

"Ramons, ramons donc
Vogue le canot
Joliment, joliment, joliment, joliment,
Attaquons le flot."

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