Literacy Classes With Simon, A Test At The Daycare, And Rugby! - Maud's Journey pt. 8

Last Thursday I helped at an adult literacy class in the township. The people were learning to recognise the letters of the alphabet, and write letters and words. Most people who join the literacy classes struggle quite a bit. One of the women couldn’t recognise the difference between the letters “h” and “b”. Someone explained it to her a few times, but it didn’t work. The teacher explained using the words hello and baby. It was a little sad that she was struggling so hard to learn the alphabet and write, but she was making an effort!

I helped an elderly man of around 70/80 years with reading. His name was Simon and he was very sweet. He had no teeth and looked a bit like a goldfish. He had big eyes and looked smart in his winter cap and too-big blazer. He really wanted to learn to read and write. First I showed him the alphabet and asked him to say the letters out loud – it took him a long time to think about each letter. I then let him write the letters of the alphabet and say words using the letters, like “a” is for apple. I also did this with words in Xhosa, the local language – “a” is for apile, which means apple! So I learned the Xhosa language at the Ilitha day care, while teaching them English.

Simon spoke a little bit of English, but I think it was easier for him to learn the alphabet using words in his own language. At the end of the lesson I showed him how to write his name. This was also his homework for the next class.

The children at the day care took a little test. There were two women who came to do the test with them. They had to do little exercises to test different aspects of their development. They did physical tests, exercises to show they knew colours, shapes, matching and group pictures, counting etc. They then come back after 6 months to see if their skills have improved or not. There is also a new local intern, who will be teaching the children and needs to know their level of development with these tests. It was interesting watch the children do the tests, because they are at very different levels.

Last week at the after-school sports project, we wanted to do something different to the usual soccer match – so we organised a race. There were two teams of mixed boys and girls, and they had to compete for which team was the fastest. The children are very active and love competing. We also played rugby, which is one of South Africa’s national sports. The children were excited and jumped all over each other to get the ball. Before the games, during warm-ups, the children sang a song: “I’ve got the ball, I put it there, I pepessa.” I don’t know what the last word means. Then they have to show their dance moves!



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