Let me start with a confession of my first mistake. I have been skipping the proofreading step. Time seems short and I trust my writing abilities a bit too much. I was reading past posts and e-mails and am horrified by my grammar and typos. From this day forward, I will proofread. :) Thanks for graciously overlooking my faults!
We heard in training to expect to make at least a million mistakes. I hate making mistakes but I can't live immobilized because of my desire to do everything right. We pray often for wisdom and then, when we realize a mistake or fauxpax, we do the only thing we can, laugh and pray some more.
Some mistakes are silly little ones, like when I realized that I had been greeting every man, "Good Morning, Woman". Hmm. That's why everyone was so smiley...
In our indirect culture here, we have time to make the same mistakes, over and over as we don't catch the subtle corrections. Factor in our lack of Amharic and communication is always funny.
In the middle of some conversations, it feels like a riddle. I smile, trying to connect the pieces, thinking, "Why are they telling me this? What are they saying?" Then it begins to dawn on me, "Aha, they are delivering a message/correction" and then my mind scrambles to solve it, putting together pieces.
Zelalum had the same conversation with Jon and I at separate times. He explained, "The cow went one way and the sheep went the other." We laughed, smiled. "Oh, those silly shepherds." He went on. "The cow goes one direction, the horse is over there and the sheep went back inside."
Hmm. He has mentioned it twice. Maybe there is something I should catch?
He continues (The actual conversation was much longer then this. Here is the main happenings.)
Z: There are seven days in the week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. We work everyday. One day is for playing. The sheep is inside, the cow is over there and the horse is walking".
Z: 7 days, 6 days working, 1 day playing. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. We play Sunday.
Me: Yes, yes, seven days, one for resting. We rest one day too! (Wow, just found a cultural relation point!) We play Sunday.
Z:The football is for playing.
Me: Oh yes, ishi, yes, the soccer ball.
Z: Ow, the mothers and fathers say the cow is there, the horse is over there and the sheep goes back.
Mind reeling. Thoughts slowly churning. We have the local soccer ball, a beat up old ball that in the USA would have been tossed to the dogs as a chew toy long ago. Nearly everyday, the boys ask to play with it, using the makeshift goals in the pasture. Why not? They are very respectful, so happy to play and bring back the ball...Ooooooohhhh. I see. (lightbulb) …Putting together the pieces...Cow here, horse there, sheep back home.
Me: You mean the shepherds are playing with the ball and not doing their work?
Z: Yes! Yes! Yes! (big smile, so proud of me for beginning to understand)
Me: So, we should just let them play with the ball on Sunday?
Z: Yes! (Now beaming) At 2:00 America time. They need to guard their animals. They are shepherds. We play one day. The animals are everywhere.
Me: Ishi, ishi. (okay, okay).
Z: Thank you, thank you
A: (laughing) Thank you, amaseganallo.
Z: Thank you, thank you (bows slightly) thank you.
Smiles exchanged. hand shake, shoulder bump.
And Jon and I can still about fall over from laughing over this mistake.