one "ee" sound at a time

last month concluded two months of tutoring K.   the other night, we celebrated all of the learners with ROTA (reach out to asia) adult literacy program with a banquet.  which, sadly, in my opinion, did not give just recognition to the learners themselves but rather to the student teachers and the sponsors.  

at the beginning of the year, i was motivated and wanted to teach again in some small capacity.  i haven't "officially" used my teaching degree since 2008.  but from various tutoring opportunities in college, i concluded that tutoring was something i enjoyed a bit more then managing a classroom.

he was quiet.  

i used a lot of hand gestures, facial expressions, and movement to explain the words he didn't understand.

once he figured it out, he'd write it down in tamil, next to the english version i wrote down on the mini dry-erase board.

i repeated the "b", and the "v" and the "f", sometimes with spit escaping my over-worked lips.

he was often tired from working.  every day.

he is 18.  just 18.  

but he was even younger when he worked in malaysia as a driver.   

and he was even younger, a child, shooting and killing two, in the civil war.

lesson 8:  "where are you from?"  sri lanka. 

i gave him a world map: a gift.  this was a new word.  we worked on the "ft" sound.

his brother and dad were driving trucks in saudi.  they all send money back home.

lesson 2:  he could not keep a straight face when acting out the feeling, "sad".  we put him on the spot.

"homesick":  one of the feelings pictured in his lesson book.

i felt privileged.  i am.  regarding both:  speaking english.  meeting and teaching K.


i watch out my window as men from india or nepal carry ladders under arm, plastic grocery bag of lightbulbs in hand.  going from villa to villa to change the burned out ones.  shoes taken off before entry, left on the walkway.  

i am so ignorant.  so isolated.  

even here in a place where countries and languages and traditions collide.