Last week, someone new joined in with teaching our language program – but this time it’s someone young! And not only that, he’s really good and seems to be enjoying it so far. He’s only about 20 and helps old E teach Ngandi. Ngandi is really endangered so D, the young guy (my nephew), doesn’t really know the language but he has good brains and is picking it up really quick and running with it. Best of all, he is pretty outgoing and a naturally good teacher. Pretty exciting really.
But what was surprising to me was finding out how different it is to be working with someone young, someone who I can relate to a bit more. I didn’t think it would have such a noticeable effect. It felt really good to be working with someone who naturally understands me a bit better (and I don’t mean in terms of language, I mean in terms of interests, attitudes, values etc.). But then I started feeling a bit sad, because I realised how I am always working hard to understand and relate to the older people I work with (and for them to relate to and understand me too). I realised that without working with younger people I'm that little bit lonelier. It’s just naturally easier for me to work with younger people, we just understand each other that little bit better.
So I’m happy that my nephew D has started joining in. I hope he keeps going. I’ll be happy to have him here plus he has an awful lot of potential.
P.S. Here are the Ngandi words that D and E have been teaching the last couple of weeks: a-dhirrk (kangaroo), a-wurrpparn (emu), a-walppurrunggu (bush turkey), a-yarraman (horse), a-muri (buffalo), a-gawirh (dingo), a-bidjay (goanna) and a-nanggurru (saltwater croc).