Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Bilingual conversation

Well that was a more interesting and enjoyable conversation with Jehovah's Witnesses than usual. There was a knock on the door and when went to see who it was I found a couple of nicely dressed, friendly looking women standing outside clutching a bible and a leaflet. The younger one began in Welsh, so I responded, but then she admitted she was only a learner, so we switched to English.

The younger one began with one of the usual gambits, namely: "What do you think will happen in the future?" so I headed her off by saying that I was a Quaker and had already found my niche. But then the older woman asked if I knew any of the Quakers in Montgomery and explained that she lived near Dolobran, which is a very old and lovely Quaker meeting house in the middle of nowhere that I have never actually visited. I said I did and we mentioned a few mutual acquaintances.

She then said that Quakers and Jehovah's Witnesses had a lot in common and before she could become too religious, I said, "Pacifism," and we had a really nice conversation about fear of where Johnson's government may take us, Jehovah's Witnesses being imprisoned in Russia and me adding that some Quakers were facing trial in the UK for participating in the protests against the Arms Fair held in London in the autumn.

In response to her asking me where I had learned Welsh, I explained that I'd done many courses over the years but that the thing that had really got me speaking fluently and confidently was the Say Something in Welsh course. She agreed and we chatted in Welsh for a little while before I said goodbye to them both. It was a really nice encounter. There are unlikely allies in unsuspected places and though there are some very basic things I can never agree on regarding Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs, it's encourage me to try to focus on finding common ground with people rather than arguing about differences.

I'm not saying I'll always succeed because some people are beyond the pale, but I will try.

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