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Saturday, August 28, 2010
Its funny, I live in an Islamic State where the mother tongue is Arabic. You would expect that I would easily and conveniently learn Arabic phrases while living here. You ask, "what's so funny about that?" Nothing..... What IS
Funny is that instead of learning Arabic, I am learning Hindi and to some extent, Tamil- languages from India.
When you enter the base, there are two entrances and signs that designate
Those who must follow it's directions.
One sign is for Easterners and the other for Westerners.
The Easterners live in a city here in Kuwait called Jahra, and for some reason Americans are not to go to that city. We load those Easteners on buses. They get paid WAY less than the Westerners, yet they do most of the work. As a westerner all we do is supervise them.
But a fellow co-worker of mine stated that had they stayed in their country they would be making far less than what they make here.
I just don't get it. I know they come from poor places. And I know their culture is so different that they are presumed to be impolite, dirty, sneaky, lazy, etc. But They are still people and some of them work hard! I see these cleaning ladies from India, very dark skinned wearing gold earrings who can barely speak English, yet they come into our buildings at 5:30am daily to clean. I mean, yeah its their job.
When they leave the place smells heavenly- like Pine-Sol lol!
The point is- they get treated and categorized differently, like second class citizens. There's another word that also makes reference to the Easterners. Westerners also call them TCN's, or Third Country Nationals.
Some of these people are very kind. One
Who I work with is teaching me some Hindi phrases and when I use them with other Indians they get this huge smile on their face in shock that I know a couple of phrases.
Another Easterner that I have been working with doesn't speak Hindi because he is from Southern India and their language is Tamil. He was showing me how to write my name in Tamil and also had me write it lol. He told me that Tamil is spoken in 5 different countries. The language looks so artsy! Its a bunch of squiggles and squares.... It amazes me just how different languages of the world are.
The Easterner who was telling me about his language and culture, showed me a religious magazine he was reading. He stated that the magazine had a page dedicated to several religions of the world including Islam, Catholicism, Buddihsm, and Hinduism.
He proposed a very INTERESTING suggestion. He pointed out that I can email that magazine, in English, and let them know that my friend was telling me about it and the language and that I can submit a religious thought. Then they will publish my religious thought in their magazine and millions of Tamil people- in Singapore, India, 2 Asian Islands I can't even pronounce because I've never even heard of them, and one other country- will read my article.
Now......want to know what came to mind? The Gospel! Well that's a no-brainer, but as my beautiful Indian, but Christian, friend Sangeeta pointed out to me, the Easterners view the Christian God as the American God and so for many Easterners they feel they have to deny their culture to adopt the American God and the American way of life. What I would share in my post is the issue of Jesus Christ being God and how to keep your culture but worship the One true God. What an opportunity this is!!! Please pray for me that I write a message that God can use mightily to reach people in far parts of the world! That the editors would accept my message and actually publish it.
To further talk about Easterners, I am surprised at how many of them speak English so well. Even Kuwaitis. It seems like most of the world takes learning English very seriously- with the exception of Latin America to some extent. I mean, here in Kuwait the traffic signs are in Arabic and English.
Which makes me wonder why so many people push for America being an English Only nation. There is academic value for a multilingual individual. Here, our students only settle for a Spanish Class or German if The Spanish class was full (to most but not all).
Anyway, on another note- today (Thursday Aug. 26) I actually went to the Post Chapel's worship team rehearsal. It was comprised of a drummer GI, two GI vocalists, the chaplain playing keyboard, and the bass player was a fellow contractor! There were two guitars sitting on the sidelines, an electric and an acoustic with no pick up. Immediately the chaplain from all the way in the back playing keys said aloud," is that Jessica from Los Angeles?!" he remembered me!
I met him once when I was given a tour my first day on base. I told him I wanted to get involved and he mentioned Thursday rehearsals at noon. So that's where I spent my lunch today. They definitely need help lol especially the frontline singer/chaplain (the songleader was also a chaplain). He just doesn't have very accurate rhythm so he ends up coming in late because he doesn't feel the groove. Additionally the vocals (oh the bass player sings too) sing too 'classically' with heavy vibrato and the rhythm of each song is sung so..... Cheesy. The drummer is alright but hr can play. In spite of their lack of dynamics, energy, tightness, and some musicianship (from the songleader) I still had a great time sitting in playing guitar and singing along. It was a blessing for me! Afterwards the main chaplain really wanted me to participate in their services and if I can just talk to my supervisors and request that I work Sundays then I can participate by being the Sunday night worship leader! Because I will be starting night shift next week and that's where I plan to stay. He said I would really be helping them a lot on Sunday night. I really want to help..... I felt at home! So Lord open doors of accommodation so I can be of use in worship for the Sunday night service on base in Jesus name.