Have you ever procrastinated about doing something, and then when you do, you have this big “Wow!” moment? Then you wonder what took you so long in the first place. I am happy to say that was my experience last night. Happy because the result of my experiment was such a pleasant surprise.
I heard about the Amistad group a few days after I touched down in Nassau back in 2008. Afterall, no self-respecting-non-native-aspiring-Spanish-speaker is spared knowledge of the club once they begin to move in Nassau’s “Spanish circle”. You start to hear that it’s the place to socialize while practicing Spanish, and you are welcome whether you’re at the basic, intermediate or advanced level. Doing what I do best, however, I put off going to any of the meetings for almost six years! With excuses ranging from a lack of transportation to just having a baby, I armed myself with every line in the book, ready for anyone who tried to invite me to come out on a Friday evening.
Anyway, a parent who is also a member of Amistad got me interested once more, and I did attend. At my first meeting I was treated to a welcoming atmosphere. The coordinator got the ball rolling by passing out strips of paper with a topic in Spanish that attendees were asked to speak about briefly (in Spanish of course!). My topic was “Tu estrella favorita” which means your favourite star. I could have spoken about the decorated Mr. Mark Myrie, Buju Banton himself, but last night I was channelling my inner Mary J Blige for some reason, so I spoke about my favourite singer.
We were then taken through the celebration of Semana Santa (Holy Week) in Ayacucho, a city in Peru. This was done via a vibrant Powerpoint presentation with related videos and some detailed explanations. I found the presentation to be very informative, and got a chance to delve into the culture of one of the most beautiful, yet not so publicised countries of Latin America. It was a treat to view the majestic floral, wooden and wax creations, all used as props in depicting scenes from Christ’s journey from the moments leading up to his crucifixion down to his glorious resurrection.
A SHORT VIDEO ON SEMANA SANTA IN AYACUCHO
The fact that the information was imparted in Spanish was for me, a sweet bonus! Afterwards, The presenter asked pertinent questions of everyone- from beginner to advanced speakers. Not to shake my own maracas but, ahem, I felt pretty good when I was placed in the advanced group:). Regardless, I was in awe of the spirit of respect with which everyone was greeted upon sharing, in spite of how much or little Spanish they spoke.
The night continued with us sharing typical “Spanish” style snacks/ beverages, while everyone browsed and chatted in Spanish, and music from Spanish-speaking countries created the perfect rhythmic background. Amistad, which means “friendship” is truly the perfect name for the group. My only complaint was having to leave at around 10 p.m. since I live far from where the meetings are held (But then again, is there anywhere in Nassau that can truly be considered as far?). Anyway I left feeling light- spirited, with a promise to return on April 25th.
Are you in the Bahamas and looking to improve your speaking skills in Spanish while socializing in a relaxing atmosphere? If the profile fits, you might want to consider swinging by Amistad. Meetings are held every third Friday at The College of the Bahamas Tourism Training Centre, Thompson Boulevard, and begin at 7 p.m. in classroom #4 of the TTC.
If you have ever been to one of the Amistad meetings, let me know what it was like. Or share some of the things that you do in trying to learn/ improve your knowledge of a second language. Do you stick to the plan, or do you quit after a while? Share your experience in the comment box below. Muchas gracias.