More and more, I find myself in circles dominated by people that speak the National language. I am usually one of the minority that don’t understand what is happening. And anyone who has been in these circles knows how effortlessly the members slip into their language and forget that you exist.
On more than one occasion, I have been looked at and spoken to in the belief that I understand and even my blank look is not enough to send the message home. At one recent event, one of my friends kept telling the person speaking to me how I couldn’t understand but waaaa, the person just kept going on and so I resorted to smiling.
At times I wonder if I would do the same if I was with many of my fellow iteso and if I would forget or miss the uncomfortable gaze of those in my space.
And more and more, I will catch myself unconsciously translating whatever I am saying for those that don’t understand especially if it’s on a whatsapp group or quickly switching to a more neutral language.
I am all for people speaking their languages and promoting them for the avoidance of doubt and that is why I need to take lessons so that I can be more comfortable in these spaces.