Do you remember learning how to read and write? I don’t. I remember being chastised by the teacher because instead of reading her the story I had memorized it. I remember my dad reading The Chronicles of Narnia to us kids. I remember devouring books and delighting in the acquired skill. I don’t remember how the teacher distinguished vowels and consonants or how letters built words, and then words sentences. I’m re-learning now.
This week, I began teaching three girls how to read and write in Karimojong. The girls are 8-10 years old and have been hired by our clinic staff to watch their infant children while they are at work a stone’s throw away. In addition to watching the children, the girls do the laundry, wash the dishes, help cook food and generally assist in housekeeping.
Fortunately, I am not forging the way in the dark. Our very own Martha Wright has developed a few small booklets that walk through the process of teaching older children and adults how to read and write. All of the material is already in Karimojong, which is rather phonetic (unlike the word itself). Therefore, although I may not be able to speak it perfectly I can read it.
On Monday, we learned the letter Aa (ah). I returned today to find their booklet pages filled entirely with crude, slanting, beautiful A’s and a’s. They welcomed me with numerous examples that they had collected of words that contain the ah sound. Today we learned the letter Ee (ay) and began pairing the vowels with common consonants. One small step at a time.
Please pray for these girls as I try to develop a relationship with them: Nakaale, Nacap, and Loumo. Pray also for wisdom as I navigate these unfamiliar waters. In addition, my experiences may assist in forming an afternoon program by KEO (Karamoja Educational Outreach) for many of the local girls that do not attend school because of responsibilities at home. I pray that my feedback will be helpful. Above all, may God be glorified, Christ exemplified.