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246 Topics: Ask an American: Father Damien and leprosy; bring versus take; And you?; trustworthy versus honest

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Complete Transcript
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 246.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast’s English Café episode 246. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. On it, you can visit our ESL Podcast Store, which has some additional premium courses in business and daily English that you will enjoy, I think. You can also download the Learning Guide for this episode, and every current episode. The Learning Guide contains lots of additional information, including a complete transcript of this episode.

On this Café, we’re going to have another one of our Ask an American segments, where we listen to other native speakers talking at a normal rate of speech – a normal speed. Today, we’re going to talk about Father Damien, a Belgian priest who cared for very sick people on the Kalaupapa Peninsula on Molokai Island, which is now part of the state of Hawaii, and therefore part of the United States. We’ll talk about why he is so famous. As always, we’ll also answer a few of your questions. Let’s get started.

Our topic on this Café’s Ask an American segment is Father Damien, a Belgian priest from the country of Belgium in Europe. He was a priest – a religious leader in the Catholic Church. In 1873 he came to the then kingdom of Hawaii, which is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean about six hours in an airplane from Los Angeles, so it’s quite far away. This young Belgian priest, then, came to Hawaii and began to work with the members of a small community on Kalaupapa Peninsula, which is on Molokai Island, now part of the state of Hawaii. Kalaupapa was a leper colony. “Leprosy” (leprosy) is a highly contagious skin disease, a disease that is easily passed from one person to another. It’s also a disease that will eventually kill you.

Well, because there was no cure back in the 19th century for this disease, which we now call Hansen’s Disease, many of the lepers, when they were discovered to have leprosy – leprosy is the disease, a leper (leper) is someone who has the disease – were sent away to an isolated place so they would not mix with other people and spread, or give their disease to other people. Because of this isolation the lepers were given very little help; very few people wanted to go and help them because they were afraid of getting their disease.

So, when Father Damien arrived in 1873 he found this community – this colony, we might call it – of lepers to be in a very bad situation. They had little medical help, there was no real law or organization; people were stealing and abusing other people. One of the things he did when he first got there was try to organize the colony and he, in fact, changed the community’s way of operating. He brought medical attention, he got supplies for the people, he organized the construction of new buildings, and so forth.

Because of his contact with the lepers, however, eventually Father Damien became a leper himself, and he died there in that community of leprosy in 1889 at the age of 49. Even though it was many years since Father Damien has died his effect on the colony is still felt – is still known. In fact, after him came others who started to help the lepers, and of course, eventually, there was a cure found for Hansen’s Disease and it is no longer something that will kill you if you get the proper medical care. In 2009, Father Damien was made Saint Damien by the Roman Catholic Church; he was recognized for his great and heroic work.

We’re going to listen now to some of the survivors – some of the final people still living in this leper colony in Molokai. Even though they will not die of leprosy and could live elsewhere, many have chosen to stay in the Kalaupapa Peninsula in Molokai. We’re going to first listen to Norbert Palea; he lives in this community still – this Kalaupapa colony. He’s going to talk about why Father Damien is so important to that community.

Now, in all of the quotes today we’re going to be listening to native English speakers who, however, speak a different variety of English, something that is influenced by the native Hawaiian language. It is a little harder to understand, but we’ll listen and then we’ll go back and explain. Let’s listen first:

[recording]

He is like a beacon. He came here in the worst years, and have lifted up our hearts. Do not despair and have faith in God. He gave us faith and hope when other people had, you know, exiled us and shunned us. But he gave us hope to live on and do not have this, um, hate. Just be glad that you were – you were born in that era, in his time.

[end of recording]

Difficult to understand, I know, but let’s talk about he said. He begins by saying, “He’s a beacon” (beacon). A “beacon” is normally a bright light that warns people about something dangerous. For example, if you are on a big lake or on the ocean, on the shore where the land is – where the land meets the ocean, there is often a lighthouse. This is a large building that has a light on it to let ships know, in the dark, that they should not get too close. A beacon can also be something that guides people, sending important signals. Father Damien was a beacon to the people of Kalaupapa; he guided them by his actions.

Norton says that Father Damien came to Kalaupapa in the worst years; he says, “He came here in the worst years, and have lifted up our hearts.” Notice that the grammar here is a little different in this particular variety of English – this dialect. He says that he came here and “have lifted up,” instead of “has lifted up,” as we would say in Standard English. “He lifted up our hearts,” that is, he made us happy. “To lift up (someone’s) heart” is to make them happy, to make them joyful.

He says that what Father Damien gave the people – the message he gave the people was “Do not despair.” “To despair” (despair) means to lose hope. It’s the opposite of lifting up your heart; you feel sad, you feel that there are no solutions for your problems. Instead, Father Damien said, “Have faith in God.” “Faith” here is another word for belief; we use it very often when talking about religion. Father Damien taught people to have faith – to believe in God even though they could not see Him or touch Him.

Norbert says that Father Damien gave the patients – the people living there – faith and hope when other people had exiled and shunned them. Norbert says, “other people had, you know, exiled us and shunned us.” “To exile” (exile) means to force someone to leave a place where he or she doesn’t want to leave. Sometimes this is for political reasons. A government will tell one of its citizens it must leave the country; it can no longer stay here. That would be a case exiling someone: officially telling them they must leave. The lepers were exiled from the other islands in Hawaii because people feared getting the disease. “To shun” (shun) means to avoid someone, to pretend that you don’t see or hear that person. If you are shunned, people make you feel unwelcome. So if you do something really bad at your work, some of your coworkers – some of your colleagues may shun you; they may not look at you, they may not talk to you, they don’t want to even acknowledge – even give evidence that you exist. That’s what was happening to the lepers according to Norbert. “But,” he says Father Damien “gave us hope to live on,” that is, hope to continue, and did not have this hate. Actually, he says, “and do not have this, um, hate.” “Just be glad,” he says, “that you were born in that era, in his time. An “era” is a period of time; in this case, the period of time in which Father Damien lived. What Norbert is saying is that if you were born at a time when Father Damien was there you were lucky.

Now let’s listen to this quote one more time:

[recording]

He is like a beacon. He came here in the worst years, and have lifted up our hearts. Do not despair and have faith in God. He gave us faith and hope when other people had, you know, exiled us and shunned us. But he gave us hope to live on and do not have this, um, hate. Just be glad that you were – you were born in that era, in his time.

[end of recording]

Next, we’re going to listen to Clarence Kahilihiwa. He is the president of an organization of the Kalaupapa patients. Here’s what he says about the patients there, it’s a very short quote. Let’s listen:

[recording]

We are the living legacy right now of Kalaupapa.

[end of recording]

He says, “We are the living legacy right now of Kalaupapa.” A “legacy” (legacy) is what is left after someone dies; it could be something that you are remembered for. If I die tomorrow, perhaps my legacy will be all these episodes of ESL Podcast and English Café that will live on for many years in the Internet – maybe! However, legacy can also refer to money that is left, it can refer to something famous about a person, it has many different possibilities. Clarence says that the patients – the people – are the living legacy of Kalaupapa, meaning as a group they are what is left – what remains – of the leper community at Kalaupapa. They are also, therefore, a legacy of Father Damien’s work.

Let’s listen one more time:

[recording]

We are the living legacy right now of Kalaupapa.

[end of recording]

Clarence continues now by talking about Father Damien and what made him so special. Let’s listen:

[recording]

He was a man with affection. And I think that’s what, um, not only affection, but he showed the world that he cared for people, and more so after a while then I said oh, wow, he was one of us, or I was one of him. He was our brother because he had the same sickness. He had leprosy. I had leprosy.

[end of recording]

Clarence says that Father Damien was a man with affection. “Affection” is a feeling of loving other people, caring for them, wanting whatever is best for them. Parents, for example, feel a lot of affection for their children. Father Damien felt a lot of affection for the people who were suffering from leprosy on Kalaupapa.

He continues, Clarence does, by saying, “And I think that’s what,” and then he changes his mind about what he’s going to say, and then says, “not only affection, but he showed the world that he cared for people.” Later he says, “wow, he was one of us, or I was one of him,” meaning Father Damien, himself, became a leper because he was caring for the lepers, and so he was just like the people he was caring for, or he became like them. That’s why he says, “he was one of us,” one of us lepers. “He was our brother because he had the same sickness (the same illness or disease). He had leprosy. I had leprosy.”

Let’s listen to Clarence one more time:

[recording]

He was a man with affection. And I think that’s what, um, not only affection, but he showed the world that he cared for people, and more so after a while then I said oh, wow, he was one of us, or I was one of him. He was our brother because he had the same sickness. He had leprosy. I had leprosy.

[end of recording]

Finally, let’s listen to Kuulei Bell. She’s going to talk about why Father Damien and his work are so important to her. Let’s listen:

[recording]

Because it was through him that we still here. Because they said in 20 years, all of us would be dead. But no, we survived because of his effort, his fighting even the Catholic Church and the government to try to get supplies and things in our behalf. And then becoming one of us. That’s the bottom line. He feels the emotion we feel. He can relate to us, that maybe nobody else can because he suffered. He had a reaction, he became disfigured, and he stayed. He dedicated his life. He literally dedicated his life.

[end of recording]

Kuulei says that people who had leprosy are still here today because of what Father Damien did for them, especially those in the colony of Kalaupapa. Before he became involved in the colony, the lepers were told they would be dead within 20 years. Instead, they survived; they continued to live because of Father Damien’s work. That’s why she says, “Because it was through him (because of him) that we still here.” Notice again the nonstandard English.

She says that Father Damien fought against many people, including his own church – his own Catholic Church – and the government to try to get supplies and things on the lepers’ behalf. “To do something on someone’s behalf” means to do something for another person. She then says, “And then becoming one of us (becoming a leper). That’s the bottom line.” The expression “bottom line” means the most important thing, the most important point. It’s actually a term that comes from accounting – from business, but here it means the most important thing.

She continues by saying that Father Damien feels the emotion we feel. “He can relate to us. That maybe nobody else can,” meaning no one else can relate to us because they don’t understand us. “To relate to (someone)” means to understand the problems that someone else is having or the situation someone else is in. She says, “because he suffered. He had a reaction, he became disfigured,” which means his physical appearance changed in a bad way. He stayed with the patients; he didn’t leave. She says, “and he stayed. He dedicated his life.” “To dedicate your life” means to spend your entire life doing this one thing or taking care of this one group. She says, “He literally (meaning actually) dedicated his life,” because, himself, died from the disease.

Let’s listen to this final quote one more time.

[recording]

Because it was through him that we still here. Because they said in 20 years, all of us would be dead. But no, we survived because of his effort, his fighting even the Catholic Church and the government to try to get supplies and things in our behalf. And then becoming one of us. That’s the bottom line. He feels the emotion we feel. He can relate to us, that maybe nobody else can because he suffered. He had a reaction, he became disfigured, and he stayed. He dedicated his life. He literally dedicated his life.

[end of recording]

If you go to Hawaii now, you can go to Molokai; you can go to the island where Father Damien was, and go to where he was buried – where they put his body. However, it isn’t easy to do. In fact, it’s somewhat difficult to do, but it is possible. The part of the island of Molokai where the colony was is still very isolated.

Saint Damien has been admired by many people, even before he was a saint. Mahatma Gandhi, for example, thought that Damien was a great inspiration to him. The Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson also praised Saint Damien for his work, as have many others.

After Damien came many other people who helped the lepers, including a Catholic nun, Sister Marianne Cope, who is also in the process of becoming a saint in the Catholic Church. Again, she died many years ago, but did something similar to what Damien did in helping the lepers.

Now let’s answer a few of your questions.

Our first question is from Ricarda (Ricarda) from Germany. Ricarda wants to know the difference between the verb “to bring” and “to take.” When do you use “bring” and when do you use “take”?

The main difference between “bring” and “take” depends upon where you are compared to what you are talking about, to whom or to where you are bringing or taking something. Both of these things can mean to lead or carry or make something go with you, for example a friend. Other people bring things to you; you take things to other people. Let’s say I’m having a party at my house. I’m not so don’t come over! But, let’s imagine I were; I would ask you, “Could you please bring some beer, and could you bring some soft drinks (some soda)?” I’m asking you to go and get something and transport it to my house. You are bringing it to me. I would take something to someone else: “I’m going to take potato chips to the picnic.” The picnic is over there, I’m here; I’m going to take it to the picnic or to someone at the picnic.

I should also point out the past tense of “bring” is “brought” (brought). It’s not “brang,” it’s not “brung”; it’s irregular. “He brought me some soup when I was sick last week.” “She brought her boyfriend to meet her parents, who didn’t like him.” No surprise!

Phuoc (Phouc) from Vietnam – and I apologize for the bad pronunciation – wants to know the meaning of “And you.” For example, if someone says, “Nice to meet you Ms. Chan,” and Ms. Chan says, “And you.” In this example “and you” is a response to the greeting “nice to meet you.” It’s short for – it’s a short form of “It’s nice to meet you, too.” Sometimes we’ll just simply say, “And you.” You might say in other situations “And you, too.” For example, your friend says, “You have a really nice dress on today,” and you say, “Thank you. And you, too (you also),” unless your friend is a man, and then in which case, it depends!

There’s another common expression that you will hear in informal English that is related to this “and you” phrase, and that is “me, too.” When someone says “nice to meet you,” you cannot say “me, too,” even though it sounds similar. “Me, too” would be the correct response to a greeting or something someone says who is using the first person, meaning “I am, too,” or “I do, too.” That’s what “me, too” means. Even if it isn’t grammatically correct is commonly used, especially in conversation – in informal English. For example: “I’m happy to see you,” Miguel told me. I replied – I said, “Me, too,” meaning I am happy to see you.” Or a friend of yours say, “I would love to visit Japan,” and you say, “Oh! Me, too.” I would like to visit also is what you are saying.

Finally, “and you” can also be used as a question, in asking someone else’s opinion of something. Someone says to you, “How are you today?” you say, “I’m fine, thanks. And you?” meaning and how are you.

Finally, Pisey (Pisey) from an unknown country – although the Internet says that it is a name often found in Cambodia, so perhaps that’s the correct country. The question has to do with the difference between “trustworthy” and “honest.” Both of these words mean the same thing. If you’re “trustworthy” or “honest” you are someone that other people can depend on or rely on. You are someone they can trust; you are worthy of their trust. You are someone who is honest, who tells the truth. So, they’re similar in meanings.

The difference is that “honest” really means more the idea that someone doesn’t lie; they always tell the truth. “Trustworthy” means more that someone can be depended on, someone you can count on when things are difficult. For example, you can call a person trustworthy, but you could also call a car trustworthy: “my trustworthy Mazda,” or “my trustworthy Ford truck.” You could never say “my honest Ford truck,” or “my honest Mazda.” So, there are cases where you can only use one, and that is one of them.

We hope ESL Podcast is trustworthy and that we answer your questions honestly. If you have some, you can email us at eslpod@eslpod.com.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us next time on the English Café.

ESL Podcast’s English Café is written and produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse, copyright 2010 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
beacon – a bright light that warns people about a danger or guides people to safety

* They lit a smoky fire as a beacon to other people in the area.

to despair – to lose hope; to think that one is in an impossible situation with no solution

* As the days passed, people began to despair about finding any more survivors from the plane crash.

faith – belief, most often used to refer to a belief in God

* When her father died, Rebekah turned to her faith for comfort.

to exile – to force someone to leave a place when he or she doesn’t want to leave

* In the past, controversial scientists were often exiled for their ideas.

to shun – to make someone feel very unwelcome by avoiding that person, pretending not to see or hear him or her

* Tracy was shunned by her neighbors for her unusual beliefs.

legacy – what is left after someone dies; what someone is remembered for

* Politicians hope to leave behind a great legacy when they die.

affection – a feeling of loving other people, caring for them, and wanting whatever is best for them

* I give you this ring as a sign of my love and affection.

on (one’s) behalf – a phrase used when doing something for another person, especially when accepting an award for another person

* It is an honor to accept this award on my team’s behalf.

bottom line – the most important part of something; the outcome; the final total on a financial document

* If we hire all these new staff members, how will it affect our bottom line?

to bring – to lead, carry, or make something come along with you from there to here

* Could you please bring me my glasses?

to take – to lead, carry, or make something go along with you from here (or where you are) to there

* Are you going to take your dog with you to the library?

trustworthy – someone or something you can depend or rely on; someone or something you can trust

* Harold asked all his friends to recommend a good, trustworthy mechanic.

honest – truthful and free from deception (someone or something that isn’t what it appears to be); real; respectable

* Have you been completely honest with your girlfriend about your past?

What Insiders Know
Hawaii Five-0

Hawaii Five-0 was a popular American television series that “ran” (was shown on TV) from 1968 to 1980. It was “shot on location” (filmed where a movie or show is set or placed) in Honolulu, Hawaii on the island of Oahu and on the other Hawaiian islands.

The show was about the Hawaiian state “police force” (a group of police officers who work together). Under the leadership of a character named Steve McGarrett, the “fictional” (not real; imaginary) police force protected Hawaii and its residents from international “spies” (people who come from other countries to gather secret government information), criminals, and the “mafia” (organized crime).

In most of the episodes, the police officers “caught” (arrested) the criminals, and the shows ended with Steve McGarrett saying, “Book 'em, Danno!" meaning that he wanted his colleague, Danny (“Danno”), to officially charge the criminal with a crime. The show had “relatively” (comparatively) little information about the police officers’ personal life and instead focused on their work “fighting crime” (trying to find and arrest criminals). The show’s title, “Five-0,” became an informal term used by young Americans to refer to the police.

Hawaii Five-0 inspired another popular television show, Magnum P.I., which was also filmed in Hawaii. One of the reasons why it was created was to use the expensive filmmaking “facilities” (buildings and other resources) that were built in Hawaii to produce Hawaii Five-0. In addition, six “novels” (fictional books) were also written based on the show. Currently, there are discussions about filming a “remake” (a new version of an old show) of Hawaii Five-0 beginning in March 2010.