Monday, July 20, 2009

A boy speaks perfect English in Hosanna

Yesterday I was in Ato David’s office (the hostel director), using his computer to write e-mails, when his eleven year old son came in and asked, “Where’s my father?” in perfect English. “Do you know when he’ll return? Will you leave the office door unlocked for me?” I’m having to simplify the lessons I teach here in Hosanna and even then I see the girls don’t understand very much of what I say. So how is it this boy speaks such English so well while my girls, some as old as 17, don’t? Because his father went to university and studied abroad and has taught his children. Too bad Ato David doesn’t have a daughter to teach! Then there is Workenesh who has not completed four years of college nor studied abroad but has excellent language ability. How did she do it? No father or mother to help her; married at age 15; five children; her husband lives and works in their home town while she rents a house in Hosanna so she can have this job as REAL mentor. And, of course, the children are all with her. And she wants more-more education, a better job, opportunities for her four girls as well as her son. What accounts for her intellect, her motivation, aspirations and hopefulness?

Again, Bingo saves the day. The Hosanna girls find it as much fun as they did in Nekemt – even Workenesh plays and wants to win a prize. At least everyone will know the numbers from 1 to 75 and the letters b-i-n-g-o. I had to resort to Bingo because we were chased out of our classroom by a very loud generator right out side the door. (When the electricity goes off, Ato David uses a generator so he can use his computer) The room we moved to is on the other side of the campus and the church choir is practicing in the room next door. They have strong lungs but with Bingo, we can shout, too.

Sosi and Belianesh and I are planning to have our last day party at the guest house instead of in the classroom. The house is so lovely and I don’t think any of the girls have seen it. We can’t tell Workenesh, thought, because she will feel obliged to ask permission and I don’t want to get a negative response. We’ll invite the head honchos at the last minute so they can’t say no. The flower garden is perfect for photo ops and we can serve tea and cake on the nice dishes.