Mackenzie Community School is growing fast in size and quality and the children are receiving good education, but what about their parents? Thinking of them, I had the idea of teaching reading to mothers. I brought with me a tutorial book about teaching adults to read and decided to try out this new project.
Bright, the head teacher of the Mackenzie Community School, said that he could easily find ten women from the community, who would be interested in the project and in short time, we had two groups of five ladies ready to attend the course. I went to a nearby supermarket to buy files and pens and made copies of reading exercises. It was already so exciting just to prepare my first lesson.
On a Friday late afternoon, after the children had gone back home, I could make use of one of the classrooms to welcome my first students. Five ladies came, colorfully dressed in their 'chitenges', faces beaming with excitement and joy. In my many years of teaching, I have never had such a motivated class. Learning the alphabet was already a big challenge for one mother. She made so much effort and received help from her ten-year-old son. She practiced very hard. I was deeply impressed to see that after a few lessons, she could master the alphabet and start reading words. I was told that after the first lesson, one lady said to her friend: 'Maybe after six months, I can also read the bible.' Such a beautiful motivation. I was so moved!
I had two lessons on Friday and two on Saturday. By bicycle, riding through roadways, small trails, over rivers, and crossing railways, I drove 45 minutes to Mackenzie where ten ladies were eagerly learning to read and for them, that meant looking at the world in a different light. Bright and Charles, both teachers at the School, were attending the lessons as well so that after my departing they could take over my position. I'm so grateful to them for their investment not only for the children of Mackenzie but also for the mothers.
Bright and Charles, thank you very much for your hard work for the community of Mackenzie. To my students: You are great women, never give up learning. You are forever in my heart.