Photo Credit: Salum Ndezi

Finding A Foreigner Language (2)

Practice is the art of science.
DR of the Congo, Middle Africa

Story by Salum Ndezi. Edited by Melaina Dyck
Published on March 14, 2021. Reading time: 4 minutes

I was in trouble. I had no more money to pay for school fees in Rwanda and I was going to have to leave to return to my hometown in the Democratic Republic of Congo in fifteen days.

Before my journey, I went to the university to use the WI-FI. When I was in the library, a boy came and asked me for the WI-FI password. I gave it to him and then he sat close to me. Within few minutes, my father called. I lowered my voice because I was in the library and we talked in Swahili. After the call, the boy to whom I gave the password said “Jambo kaka,” a greeting in Swahili.

He and I were both immigrants. Our friendship started from there. 

“I heard you speaking Swahili on the phone. I’m from Burundi,” he said. We went out of the library and had a long dialogue. I was so excited to find someone who could speak Swahili properly because I could express myself freely in my mother tongue. He and I were both immigrants. Our friendship started from there. From that day forward, we visited each other’s apartment regularly. Later on, he told me that he works as a French teacher at a primary school. When I heard that, I was very interested since I learned French in secondary school and that qualified me to be a primary school teacher. I never knew that French was taught at the primary level in Rwanda, because in 2009 Rwanda changed its language from French to English and it became an Anglophone country. I knew only that French was taught as a subject at secondary level. My new friend gave me the details about the job.

I went from feeling excited to feeling doubtful. “Yes, I’m a teacher, but I have never taught apart from the one-month of internship I did when I was getting my diploma in secondary school. I don’t have any experience as a teacher. But I must try. It’s ok if I fail,” I said in my heart. When I reached my ghetto, I spent the whole night preparing my CV to apply to different schools in the area. The following day, I went to those schools and applied for a job as a teacher of French. I was afraid after applying for the jobs because in Africa, before you apply for any job anywhere, you must have one of these three people: a family member or friend who works at the place where you apply or a person who has a good relationship with the boss.

It’s ok if I fail,” I said in my heart. 

But, all of that did not discourage me. I prayed to God. Five days later, I got the job!

I was extremely happy. Imagine as an immigrant applying only once for a job and getting it with no experience or without knowing someone. This is not something normal. It is a miracle. My pains changed to pleasure in a second. I started a new life of independence. I started planning for my days to come. I able to pay rent, food, and other expenses and help my parents and family, too.  I hang out with my fellow immigrant friend on the weekends. I am very happy teaching French. Teaching helps to increase my French skills because I practice it every day.  As is said in French, “La pratique est l’art des sciences.”[1]

Click to read more about Salum's journey through constantly changing life

[1] “Practice is the art of science.”


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Salum Ndezi

Salum Ndezi

I’m Salumu, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is the second widest country of Africa with more than four hundred tribes and more than four hundred fifty dialects. Kiswahili, Lingala, Tshiluba and Kikongo are the four national languages and French is an official one. It is a very rich country with its natural resources. But the biggest problems are the political instability, insecurity, war most in the eastern part of the country, and tribalism. And these bring us other big problems of poverty and hunger. Citizens cannot benefit from the resources of their own country. I observed and found out that people’s mentality must be changed, from all classes of people. And my only way to contribute to changing people’s mentality is through writing and sharing my ideas with everyone. Together we can make Congo, Africa and the whole world a better place.

Topic: Migration

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