Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Literacy class...

Two of the 9 year old girls in the post-op ward had never been to school before. They did not know how to write their names. So, I took it upon myself to teach them. I love teaching children/adults how to write their names. I feel like if there is one thing people should learn to write, it is their name. One of the things I noticed when working at the Fistula Hospital in Sierra Leone was that the women were much happier when they could sign papers using their name, rather than their fingerprint.

Both Founa and Marie were very excited. On a Sunday and Monday afternoon I sat down on Founa's cot and started showing her the letters to her name. She was hesitant at first, unsure of how to even hold the pen but soon enough she was very eager to continue. It is always interesting teaching someone to write for the first time. It seems so easy, but in their minds, it's not. The logic of making each letter the same size, just does not come naturally in the beginning. And even tracing letters seemed like a very difficult task. But with lots of patience and repetition, she got it down. She was so proud of herself. Unfortunately Founa's mom died years ago and her father died in the recent earth quake. Her cousin is looking after her for now, but is uncertain if he will be able to continue. Let's pray for a home for her and the opportunity to go to school!
Marie loved the idea of learning to write. Having broken her left arm, she was fortunate to be right-handed. So, on a Wednesday afternoon we sat down and started writing. She was also hesitant to start. When I first asked her if she wanted to learn how to write her name, she said no. When I asked her why not, she said because she has never gone to school and thought she couldn't learn. I explained to her that I could teach her right then and there how to write her name. She wanted that. She caught on very quickly it was amazing. Tracing letters, copying them down, and finally putting them together to write her name. She was so proud of herself. Later she was coloring a picture and then came to find me because she had written her name on it! A few days later she pulled me over to the blackboard where she had been writing her name. I found out from one of my team mates that they had loaned her a coloring book, but seeing later that she wrote her name all over it, decided to give the book to her. Smart girl!
What a privilege to be able to help these children in so many different ways!

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