Singing in a language you don’t understand is interesting. A few weeks ago the Sunday evening prayer group which I have joined with my neighbours decided to organise a trip to a centre for street children. It has been set up by a Chadian pastor, Moise who decided to start accepting boys who had nowhere to go into his home, his project has since grown and he now has a centre which he runs with the help of this wife. There are about 15 ex-street children who now live there full time. Our prayer group hired one of the mini buses I wrote about in my last blog and we all went to the centre to spend the day there. We prayed, sang, did a Bible Study, played party games and then shared a meal prepared by some of the women in our prayer group. It was a very inspiring experience as at the end of the day a number of people shared their testimonies and told us how God had changed their lives.
|The river on the way to the centre|
|La chorale Bouclier de la foi or The Shield of Faith Choir|
|Our choir in our lovely uniform|
This last month I have been singing in lots of different languages as I have joined the choir at our church with one of my French neighbours and one of the ladies from the centre. Lucile and I have been having fun singing words in Nadjire the mother tongue of most people at our church which has sounds we have never pronounced before. Thankfully the vast majority of the songs are in French which means we can sing more easily and concentrate on copying everyone else’s dance moves! We have also been singing in English which is thankfully more comprehensible than at the centre. One of our choir directors is especially keen and always leads the choir saying Un deux trois et sing!
|The Arabic lesson I taught last week, |
the key word was fire- naar
I have also been practicing my Arabic lately I have started taking part in one of the activities with street children which my flat mate Ophelie is involved in. It’s a project set up by Swiss missionaries they have “activities” in churches in different areas of the city for children who are living on the streets. I’m helping with the alphabetisation activity on Wednesday mornings. We have about 25-30 children every week. We give them water then one of the volunteers tells a bible story which is translated into Arabic. They then have a short lesson teaching them how to read and write in Chadian Arabic using roman script. It’s not very complicated; the project is using some books created by another missionary society. The boys are learning letters and simple words, the aim is to stimulate them and if the enjoy it and want to learn more then the missionaries try to help them either to go back to their families, to a centre like the one we visited or to a foster family so that they can have a more stable life style and go to school. At the end of the activity they are given tickets made by the project which can buy them a meal from a lady who sells food by the side of the road.
|"The birth of Jesus" - The picture books we use with to tell Bible Stories|
The missionaries running the project have decided that I speak enough Arabic to teach the children to read and write at the activities. I was a bit worried at first but it’s actually not too complicated, I only really need to know how to say “what is this?” or “Who wants to read” and then read all the words on the blackboard so that the children repeat after me. I taught for the first time a week ago and it went well, the children are really enthusiastic and all of them want to answer the questions! Last week I also told the Bible story; it was be about Zachariah and Elizabeth as we are starting the Christmas story leading up to Jesus’ birth. I’m really enjoying the opportunity to help the street children and also improve my Arabic!