With the completion of the classroom here, we are all set to begin teaching the Do people to read and write in their own language!
We will begin the class in one week – October 7th. A few days ago we began inviting people. We have 15 names on our list for the first class. This includes people from each of the various parts of our village, people from each clan, younger students (less than 25 years old) and older students, and men as well as women.
We will meet Monday through Friday, every morning for 2 hours, and the class will run from October 7th to the end of January. We will begin at the VERY beginning, teaching those who have no reading or writing skills how to even “read” pictures on a page.
For example, see below. “What animals make tracks like these? Which way is the animal walking?”
Moving along, we will teach each syllable, systematically, until they have learned every syllable in their language, practicing each day with words built from the syllables learned so far.
See below, learning the new syllables wo, wi, wa, we, wu. (Wore means frog):
I will be the main teacher for this first class, with help from Amelia and Elna, but I will be looking for people in our first class who can become teachers for all future classes. Hoping to work myself out of a job!
And here are a few pictures of students who will participate in the first class:
Meet Som. He is a father of eight (seven still living) and a grandfather of three. He is a leader here in the village and a very sweet guy. He immediately accepted our invitation to the first class with joy. He is humble and soft-spoken, and stands out in the community because he loves his wife and talks about how much he loves her. (This is so uncommon in this culture that I have never heard another person communicate in this way.) We are hoping that he might be an overseer over future classes.
Meet Lupa. We had Lupa picked out several months ago, before his wife died fairly suddenly of an illness. He has six children (his youngest is pictured with him here). However, before we were able to speak with him yesterday, he got wind that he was on the list and arranged for a young girl to look after his children each day so he could attend.
And finally (for now), meet Wirane. Wirane is a mother of twelve (ten still living), and a grandmother to many. While we invited her and asked her thoughts, she expressed fear that she will not know enough to succeed in the class. We assured her that we will go slowly and that we are simply asking her come to each class and work hard. After hearing that, she immediately said, “Ok! I’m in!” (Or “Iyo. No klasquno yoweyano.” :)).
I know that teaching this class will be stretching and so so sweet. We will keep you all updated as we invite more and begin our first class!
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