Despite the familiar faces at Puerto Alegria, there are 16 new boys at the home who all come from near the Peruvian-Colmbian-Brazilian border. These boys come from the villages near Caballococha and Cuchillococha and arrived to Puerto Alegria in May.
This has added another level of multiculturalism to the home because many of these boys did not learn Spanish as their first language – and a small handful barely speak it at all. These boys were raised speaking Tikuna (more about that here), which is a complicated native language. So when I translate game instructions or commentary before meals from Spanish to English for the volunteer teams and boys, a brave new Tikuna translates from Spanish to Tikuna for for the rest of the group.
As these new boys are slowly learning Spanish, they continue to communicate amongst themselves in Tikuna. Over the past few weeks, I have learned some basic phrases from some of the more vocal boys and have even learned the words to a song we sing in Spanish before meals here, “Demos Gracias” (We Give Thanks), and I have been welcomed into the fold with my own name in Tikuna – “Pa-ka” (which is pronounced, paa-kay). Here are two videos of one of the older Tikuna boys singing “Demos Gracias” in Tikuna and then again in Spanish.
Taxcü ni a cuega. (Ta-koo knee ah qu-eh-gaa) – What is your name?
Choxega ni a Kate. (Cho-ega knee ah Kate) – My name is Kate.