Learn Your Sponsored Child's Language
*"Smer na nurna nerr smerna ner nerr nah nah nurgh blurg thanks"* Let’s be honest, when I first thought of learning my sponsored child’s language and writing to him, this is how I thought it would look.
30 Jun, 2017
Nonetheless, it got me thinking how incredible it would be if I could write to my sponsored child in his Indonesian language! Could I even learn Bahasa? It’s an exciting thought, isn’t it?
Reading this you’re probably thinking, ‘Michael, writing a letter in English is hard enough, let alone trying to write it in a foreign dialect!’
Well, my friends, we always hear the question, “What can I say to my sponsored child?” Here’s your answer! Imagine writing a few sentences in your sponsored child’s language, describing your learning journey and what your favourite words are to say. That’ll definitely give you something to talk about!
The letter writing process isn’t simple. Recently, I was at our Compassion Country Office in Indonesia, and they proceeded to show me how they receive and translate each individual letter to the local language, making sure your words of encouragement and support reach your loved one.
Let me tell you, my eyes were opened wide by the process. There isn’t any highly advanced technological algorithm or robot that instantly translates the letter for you. (Maybe in the year 2050 when we finally have those flying cars we’ve been promised!)
The Compassion staff and translators in each country sit down (like I’m doing right now) and write your words by hand. This is the part where you literally stand up and give our Compassion staff the biggest cheer ever! What absolute legends! And the best part is they absolutely LOVE being able to play a key role in the development of your sponsored child. LEGENDS!
So, if you’re anything like me, you’re at least a bit intrigued by the thought of writing a letter in another language.
But what now?
Well here’s a really simple guide to get you started learning your sponsor child’s language.
Step 1: What language does my sponsored child speak?
This step is easy. Go to your fridge or bedside table or wherever you keep the picture of your sponsored child and open it up. Inside there will be some information about the community, and it probably says what the local language is. If not, I think a better way is to actually write to your sponsored child and ask them what language they speak in their homes in your next letter. I think that would be way more exciting, to start the conversation and to help encourage yourself along the way!
Step 2: Learn the language!
Introducing the power of the World Wide Web! Google, Google, Google! And learn away! There are many apps and even some videos of how to learn a new language in 10 days. If you’re feeling adventurous and not doing much for the holidays, I highly recommend doing this. Even better, do it with your family or friends. Set some personal challenges and goals for yourself, practise by having some conversations with your friends and see how you go!
Step 3: Dazzle away!
Write that letter, show off your new-found talent, and surprise your sponsored child. And don’t worry, if you mix up your words and say something like “I greet you with a hog” instead of “I greet you with a hug”, the Compassion staff will still be there to translate—and save your bacon!
“Semoga berhasil belajar Bahasa baru” – Good luck learning a new language!
__Words by Michael Cauchi
Photos by Ben Adams__