None of us know about God. Will you teach us?

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The Nahuatl have a story about how the world ended.  In their version there was just water everywhere.  All the people had died and all the trees were gone.  There was just one man and his little dog in a canoe.  All the people in the world come from that man and his dog.

As I checked through the accuracy of my transcription of this story with my language helper, Leyo, she wondered aloud if it was really true.  I grabbed ...

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Uyuli

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Checking words with Agustina while her siblings look on

I was checking words with my language helper a few days ago.  When I asked her about “uyulí” Agustina gave the definition as “it re-lived.”

“Like what, for example?” I asked.

“Oh, you know,” answered Agustina, “like if a plant is getting all dry and brown and you think it’s dead, but then it starts to turn green again and live.”

I asked if you could use that phrase to describe people.  “No.  How could ...

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Meet: Leyo

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Leyo (left) with a daughter and daughter-in-law. Her husband, William, is sitting in front of them.

I have two main language helpers.  One is Leyo.  She is great for conversation and practicing what I’m learning.  She loves to talk and corrects me when I say something wrong.  Then she makes me say it right.  She loves to be recorded and sometimes prompts me with, “I have a story to tell you, do you want to record it?”  Then, she goes off ...

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Baby Wearing

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Baby wearing is not a new fad.  For hundreds, maybe thousands of years, the Nahuatl and other indigenous mothers have been wearing their babies.  Here is a 16 year old mother with her one year old:

I got to try my hand, or my back, at this ancient practice.  Katie was checking language with one of our Nahuatl friends.  Her baby was really fussy and I was trying to keep him quiet so Katie and our friend could concentrate on Nahuatl.  ...

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This week

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This week our house became a movie theater – complete with snacks: Tang and animal crackers!  The early showing was Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  The second showing was Planet Earth.  Both were much enjoyed!

Enthralled with Narnia

This week we studied Nahuatl.  We have a language evaluation soon, so we practiced as much as we could!

Checking words I have recorded to make sure they mean what I think they mean

This week I tried to haul water.  I went ...

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From Katie: Not straight talking…

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As we continue to spend hours daily studying the Nahuatl language, it is fun to see things start to take shape and make sense.  Several months ago I had written down “amomelahtaketsaliste” as meaning “a lie.”  We knew that the verb, to talk, is “taketsa” and “amo” means not.  Then, a few weeks ago, while studying some adjectives, we came across the word “melah,” or straight.

Suddenly, it became clear: a lie to the Nahuatl is “not straight talking.”  A perfect ...

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Needed: Clean Water

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We hope to provide clean drinking water for the village and a source of running water for us.

In Las Moras, Mexico, the Nahuatl people have few options for water. Some haul it from a nearby stream where people also bathe and wash laundry. Some haul it from small, dirty springs that are often muddied by livestock. Some gather it from puddles when it rains. None of them have access to clean water, and many suffer from water-borne illnesses like typhoid and dysentery.

When we began working in ...

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Conversation with Alberta

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Alberta for blogOn the second day of the dental clinic, a truckload of people arrived first thing in the morning. Alberta was the first one in the door and therefore the first with the dentist. She was really nervous. I told her it wouldn’t hurt, the doctor would give her medicine (anesthesia) so she wouldn’t feel pain. I checked on her a few times. When she was done, she left quickly!

A few hours later, as I was ...

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Our best Nahuatl so far…

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To kinda give you an idea of what we know so far, I’ll let you listen in on a conversation my co-workers and I had with one of our friends…

Visiting our Nahuatl friends

Visiting our Nahuatl friends

We spoke in Spanish, Nahuatl, and English.

Here’s how it went…

My co-workers and me:

Our Nahuatl friend:

Hi!  How are you?

I’m fine.

Come in.  Child, go get some chairs.

Sit down.

What have you been up to?

Nothing much.

What have you been up to?

I am teaching. (home-schooling Josiah)

What else can we say?  Eat!

I ...

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