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Monday, December 16: Day 238 – English for Everyone

Thank you so much to all our friends and family and readers for your prayers and well wishes in regards to our safety while on this adventure and for healing from this cold. I thank God for each of you, the miracle of prayer and the discovery of antibiotics. I have turned the corner.

As a microbiologist I can only guess that we are exposed to never before seen microbes so when our immunity is challenged, we will get sick.

Several days ago, I was teeth-chattering cold for many hours. The amazing body has to make a choice: to maintain body temperature or fend off bacteria that we are exposed to every day. It will always choose to maintain body temperature. That is why a coat and hat are worn to prevent getting chilled and then sick.

We are thankful that our schedule has slowed, and we can spend time resting and healing.

We are in Luang Prabang for the purpose of teaching English every night from 4:30-8:30. It is a thirty-minute walk to the school.

Mispronounced Words

Shocker for soccer

Misusing the word fasten and saying fashion your seatbelt.

Misusing the word toll and saying that we must stop to pay the troll.

Cultural English

The English classes teach subjects that are relevant and comprehensible for Lao students – not only in terms of understanding the new language, but also in terms of understanding the topics:

Example #1:

The English words “mortar” and “pestle” tend to be not part of the vocabulary of most people in ‘the West’, let alone used! In ‘the West’ people use a “blender”! However “mortars” and “pestles” are essentials for Lao cuisine and used every day.

Example #2:

A lesson that explains how a “ticket-distributor” for the London underground-system works is pretty useless in Luang Prabang. There isn’t a railway in Laos – let alone a subway.

Example #3:

Worksheets are commonly used for beginners to reinforce the language. One presents the former Pope and Marilyn Monroe with the question: “Where are they from?” – (“She is from America!” – “He is from Poland!”) is most certainly a good and suitable lesson in any Western country – but not in Laos! 80% of Lao students wouldn’t know what a Pope is nor that Poland is a country in Europe – let alone who Marilyn Monroe is.

The Student is the Teacher

Here are some Lao words that WE have learned:

Dom means island

That means waterfall

Tham means cave

Nam means river

Ban means village.

Sabaidee is the greeting which is said with praying hands to your face with a slight nod of the head.

Ka Louna means please.

English for Everyone

Today was our first day so there were a lot of English questions. Rob and I started together in the first class but separated after that class so that we could be twice as effective. The classes are either beginner or intermediate.

We giggled a lot as we struggled to understand each other.

After learning that Rob and I were husband and wife, they asked how many years had we been married. I said 34. The class was unusually surprised. It turned out that they had asked how many children did we have!!!!


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