My grasp of the Xhosa language is improving and I am like a sponge trying to soak up any words or phrases I hear. The most common reaction to my speaking Xhosa is surprise, smiling, laughter, and pleasure, especially when I whisper the few swear words I've picked up! I promised myself that by the time I left South Africa, I would be able to put intermediate level Xhsoa on my resume!
While in Mthatha, there was a lot of opportunity to learn and practice new vocabulary. Sarah and I are both very trusting in repeating whatever words we are told to say as we try to learn more and more. The student volunteers enjoyed watching me scribble in my notebook whenever a new phrase or word was said and learnt. While at dinner one night, Andy and Nomve, student conference organizers, taught us, "ndifuna umyeni!". We weren't completely sure what we were saying, but by the end of the night, we were yelling it out to any community member who walked by in our attempts to impress. As it turned out, we were yelling, "I want a husband!" which explained the laughter and looks of pity.
Speaking of husbands, consider this an informal poll of how many cows I am worth. Sarah and I both received marriage proposals while in Mthatha. Bride price (lobola) is still paid here and we were both wooed by a man with 600 cows and countless sheep. I am not sure if FedEx will transport livestock to Canada, but if I really hit hard times, I can fall back on my bovine reserves.