|Fear the Deer!|
I showed up for English Club and quickly realized that it would be me who was leading. None of the regular bilingual leaders would be able to make it. The group speaks about as much English as I speak Malagasy and I was completely unprepared to lead. Once we got to the room, I looked out the window, took in one of the previously aforementioned sunsets, and said a quick prayer of "help!"After struggling and stumbling through awkward introductions I was out of ideas. An awkward silence ensued while I tried to formulate a plan. Graciously one of guys asked a question.
"Whats America like?" Yeah, OK I can answer that, just how to do it in an English form that is recognizable? "well it's uh, fast! very fast, and uh...." he interrupted. "what animals?" Oh good I can answer that to! "well we have deer, elk, horses, lots of birds, cows, raco....." "Whats a deer?" A deer? whats a deer? hmm good question, I should slow down. I forgot there are no deer here not to mention elk, or raccoons, and the Malagasy words for them. So how to describe a deer? "Yes a deer! well a deer is sort of like a cow. or omby. A little smaller, less smelly, not as colorful... (I pantomimed most of these descriptors), Yeah! Except they have antlers not horns." So I drew a cow on the board. ( It was an ugly cow). Then I drew two curved horns, pointed to them said, "horns." I then made two solid looking horns out of my arms on the top of my head said "horns". They seemed to understand. Next I erased the horns, drew antlers, pointed and said "antlers"! So I made split fingered antlers on my head said "antlers"! A few more nods. I said "horns stay on, antlers fall off." To illustrate my point I set my water bottle on the table- "Horns." Then I knocked it off- "Antlers." "Horns" (bottle on the table) "Antlers" (knocked it to the ground.) And repeated about 5 times. Once again I think the message got through. "whats its noise?" uh oh. what does a deer sound like? Do I really want to make the noise I remember deer making? Yes, yes I do. "well its kinda like, um sort of uh well....."
I went for it. I put my hands up to my head, pranced around with big exaggerated knee high steps, gave the "deer in a headlights look" sniffed the air and made an obnoxious groan/whine/moan/shout deer call for over one minute. when I was done, and standing there out of breath and smiling, everybody just stared. Except one guy cracking up in the corner. Wow that was ridiculous! Might as well drive the point home know. "does anybody know the film, sound of music? no? OK well you know Do, Re, Me, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do! (I sang), (nods) Good! So - Doe a deer a female deer! On the board I wrote Vave-female-doe. Then Lahy-male-buck. and pointed respectively from "doe" to the deer I drew to "vave" back to the deer! "Doe a deer a vave deer. Yes! That's what a deer is!" Mahay?" (understand) A few nods of the head, the guy in the corner was still laughing his butt off then someone said "so a deer is vave cow, has many horns that fall off, er antlers?"
What did I learn?
- Boy scouts first rule, one that I have usually always tried to follow..... ALWAYS BE PREPARED! Weather I think I will be leading or not, always have something I can lead with. Song, dance, bible study, or English lesson, have something ready;
- Things will sill happen unexpectedly even if I have something prepared, so be flexible;
- Use what I know. A lifetime of experiences has given me a bag of resources to use such as the sound of music!
(Next week to explain RAY!)