About the Blog

United Hearts Children Center is located in Bawjiase, Ghana. It is currently home to 25 children, who are excited to move into their NEW home in the next few months. We are continuing fundraising to complete the project and have just started to fundraise for the United Hearts Community School. Check them out in my links!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

So, they do speak English here.

I can only say THANK YOU (Mberg 2010 this is totally for you :D ) to the responses to my shameless plea for comments. I do need to remind myself that people are reading, even if I get to thinking it's just my mother and Lauren who are actually checking up on this. I seriously appreciate just knowing that people care when I update, especially on the days that I feel totally self-absorbed for thinking people want to read about my time in Ghana. So, here are today's thoughts.

As a follow up to my previous post about a possible Language Barrier in Bawjiase, I thought I would share with you some of my personal favorite English phrases used here. I will includ a description, as best I can, to define how we use them at home compared to their meaning here.

I'm coming.
Bawjiase translation: I will be back, one second, hold on, I'll do what you are asking me to do in a moment.
Not totally different from the usual use at home, meaning that I will be there. However, "I'm coming" is used when people are with you and need to go do something, telling you they will return. The children also frequently tell me they are coming when I ask them to clean up and instead of putting the crayons away, they continue coloring and tell me, "I'm coming, I'm coming."

It's for you/me.
Bawjiase translation: It's for you/me, it is yours/mine, it belongs to you/me.
I actually find this one to be particularly confusing, because it's hard to figure out if someone is giving me something or telling me that it belongs to me. Yesterday I had an extensive conversation with one of the children in which the only words exchanged were (I am in italics), "It's for me?" "It's for me." "I take it to the volunteer house?" "Yes." "It's for me." "No, it's for me." This interaction was repeated at least three times until I left her with the picture.

Bawjiase translation: A lot, more than, very, sooo.
I still get taken aback by this one sometimes because I am so used to it meaning too much, as in more than something should be. Cynthia, one of the children with the darkest skin, is said to be too dark, but it is not used to mean she "shouldn't" be so dark, but simply that she is the darkest. I can tell people that they are too beautiful or that it is too hot or that the food is too good.

And now, my personal favorite.
Are you sure?
Bawjiase translation: Really?, No way!
At home this isn't the most polite thing to say. People use it to express doubt and to question what someone says. Here, however, it's just an exclamation and an acknowledgment of what people are saying. When I tell people I don't like fish, the most frequent response is "are you sure?" It's not because they think I don't actually know if I like fish, but simply that they are surprised. However, the reason I like this so much is because it gives me the opportunity to express doubt without being rude. When people tell me something that I'm really not sure is true, I get to say "are you sure?" without being offensive in the least. Of course, I've also taken a liking to using this phrase as they use it and now find myself saying it far more than I should be.

Again, thanks for the responses to my last post. Hopefully I will make it to Kasoa where I can upload some more pictures! And if you are in the parts of the world that are being dumped on with snow, stay warm and try to keep enjoying it for me!


  1. THANK YOU!!!!
    No seriously, thank you... Catching up on your blog kept me busy during this awful lecture. I'm glad I finally got to catch up and I love hearing o your adventures, especially water carrying, church, and dance jogging. Keep writing :)

  2. Snowboarding is hard with a broken Bawjiase ankle!

  3. YOU ARE AWESOME. LAUREN IS AWESOME. I SO WISH I WERE THERE WITH YOU GUYS! Reading your blog is a great trip down memory lane. I miss everyone so much! Please tell all of the kids I miss them sooooo much! Could you possibly find out what Nancy is up to now that she is not at the orphanage?

  4. My favorite: "It's for you/me" reminds me of the old Abbott and Costello routine:

    Abbott: Strange as it may seem, they give ball players nowadays very peculiar names.

    Costello: Funny names?

    Abbott: Nicknames, nicknames. Now, on the St. Louis team we have Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third--

    Costello: That's what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellows on the St. Louis team.

    Abbott: I'm telling you. Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third--

    Costello: You know the fellows' names?

    Abbott: Yes.

    Costello: Well, then who's playing first?

    Abbott: Yes.

    Costello: I mean the fellow's name on first base.

    Abbott: Who.

    Costello: The fellow playin' first base.

    Abbott: Who.

    Costello: The guy on first base.

    Abbott: Who is on first.

    Costello: Well, what are you askin' me for?

    Abbott: I'm not asking you--I'm telling you. Who is on first.

    Costello: I'm asking you--who's on first?

    Abbott: That's the man's name.

    Costello: That's who's name?

    Abbott: Yes.