24 May 2012

How Many Translators Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb

It is so fantastic to have another OT here!  M. is a pediatric Occupational Therapist from Canada.  She has jumped in with both feet and we are thrilled she is here!  She brings a new perspective and brand new energy to our little department.

B. and I are already learning a lot!

So, this morning we hung out for a little while in the PMI, the Under-Five-Clinic, so that M. could get a feel for what types of diagnoses we see here in Galmi and what is 'typical' for kids here.  But this afternoon was Screaming-Baby-Clinic . . . I mean, Club-Foot-Clinic, so we were back in my office.

After we were done, we watched and translated as M. eval-ed two babies who are having trouble with breastfeeding and are not gaining weight.  M. showed the Mamas some stimulation exercises to help 'wake their mouths up' before trying to feed them.

While we were seeing the second one, two women walked into the pediatric ward asking to see Déborah. But really, they didn't want to see me, they wanted to see this new Baby-Whisperer.

F. is what we call a Floppy Baby.  His resting muscle tone is really low . . . that means he looks a bit like a big rag doll.  The PMI sent him to us because he has some major motor delays.

Only problem . . . Mama speaks Djarma.

Thankfully she had brought her own Djarma-Hausa translator.

Now, I've gotten used to doing therapy with broken Hausa or in French with a nurse or B. translating for me.  But now that M. is here, we're working in English-French-Hausa and praying nothing gets lost in translation.

But there we were . . . all five of us, circling baby.

'Does he spend most of his day laying on the floor or strapped to Mama's back?' M. asked to start off her evaluation.

'Est-ce qu'il passe le plupart de la journée couché sur le sol ou attaché sur au dos de sa Mama?' I translated into French.

'Ovaijs lkjalk jvlja wlvkjalkhvoaiwjg v;kjvjhalghvlajDSLkjasdfiljvwoiajkvlahdv lkasjvl kajslkvji jdl? B. asked in Hausa.

'Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah?' The woman with Mama asked in Djarma.

'Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.'  Mama answered.

'Vijla gkj lkqj walj i3qoij vlkjvwlejrglkjvoijwleiglaknda l kajdlk.' The woman translated.

'Elle dit qu'il est attaché toujours à son dos quand elle travail à la maison.' B. told me.

'He's strapped to her back most of the day while she does her housework.' I explained to M.

With four languages going at once, it's a wonder we were able to accomplish ANYTHING at all!  I felt like I was back in Fourth Grade playing Telephone at recess!


SM said...

Maybe it's just me, but I think it's great! How amazing to be able to cross such immense language barriers for a sweet baby! Very cool.

P.W. said...

Keep the communication going!  Thanks for the read - keep up the good work!

Bobnrobn said...

blah, blah, blah, blah to you as well!  xoxoxoxo

Dhilstad said...

Trusting God works through the Blah blah blah and works mirricles for these little people that they may grow up and change their corners of the world...