Local Language Introduction
Learning even a few words of a people's native language can go a long way toward showing your good will, respect, and desire to learn. It can mean a great deal to people, especially those who speak a relatively small language that few foreigners learn. It also makes possible verbal interactions with segments of the local population, such as women or the elderly, who aren't educated in the colonial language or English. Plus, it's fun!
Most Tandana volunteer programs include very basic language lessons to help you interact and show your interest in local culture. Don't worry about making mistakes! People appreciate the fact that you're trying, and if you do mess up, it's an opportunity to laugh, share a joke, and become closer to local people. We've put an introduction to Kichwa and Spanish (for those of you going to Ecuador) and Tommo So (for those of you going to Mali) on this website, so that you can study before you go, review after your trip, or just for those who are interested. Enjoy!