|Mennonitas learning Spanish, courtesy Excelsior News.|
Ne Sproak School
(from Excelsior News)
It seems that Mexico’s Mennonites, many of whom left Canada due in part to language assimilation pressures in the public schools, have finally decided to come to terms with this past… coming terms in Spanish.
At a time when speculations rests regarding the future of Mennonites in Mexico, Excelsior News reports that Chihuahua’s Mennonites are now enrolling in Mexico’s public school programs in order to learn Spanish.
Excelsior indicates that over one hundred Mennonites have enrolled in primary and secondary school programming through Chihuahua Institute of Adult Education (ICHEA).
Mennonites are feeling the need to learn Spanish in order to obtain official identification papers for passports and to establish business and bank accounts.
But, it seems that Spanish is also being used increasingly to communicate with non-Mennonite employees, encouraging these employees also to learn formal Spanish and to complete their education in order to facilitate friendships, business connections and the ability to communicate.
Excelsior indicates that Mennonites began attending ICHEA courses in 2012, beginning with a group of about 20 farmwives and shortly including several couples and Mennonite school teachers. Though mostly Mennonite women are studying Spanish with fewer men.
Daicy Mauricio Gallegos, a volunteer teacher, describes her students as follows, “Son muy metódicos, les gusta estudiar a conciencia libro por libro; saben leer y escribir, pero como no dominan el español, tienen dificultades para entender las preguntas de los exámenes, así que decidieron estudiar desde el nivel inicial (alfabetización).” (Excelsior, see link).
“The Mennonite students are very methodical, and conscientiously study their books. They can both read and write but are not as fluent when speaking Spanish and often have difficulty understanding the test questions. For this reason, I start them at the basic level.”
In reading this story, one can help but be amused at the turn of events whereby so many of us have volunteered to help teach Mexican immigrant families English and how test questions seem to be especially difficult to comprehend / translate. Perhaps the world is not so large after all.