For the most part the family that Sarah and I are working with understand a fair amount of English. The four of the family members who are college aged are the ones that speak the most with us; while the mother, father, and grandmother do not know English… or so it seems.
As Sarah and I spoke with the children of the family the the two eldest ones seemed to converse the most while the two younger sisters smiled, listened, and nodded. This was true too in terms of the grandmother and mother. We had confirmed already that the father knows no English.
In observing I came to an understanding that maybe as a whole they knew more English than I had thought, and they were just too shy to practice conversing. This is when I began to simply ask them what certain things were in their apartment and eventually I began to find how much English they really did know when they would respond although with very strong accents. Later they informed me of English they had learned while in the refugee camps; however, it was very differently pronounced from how Sarah and I spoke.
I’ve come to realize that these individuals are very intelligent people but just like me they are shy and all it takes is patience, encouragement, and friendship to get them to open up to the possibilities that await them.