I’m Lisa Smith, one of the volunteers in Fushe Kosove and the guest blogger for this posting.
LETTERS and NUMBERS, that’s what’s on my mind…subjects that have become close to me, painstakingly so at times, these last few months of helping out with the 1:1 program. Whether from helping the kids learn to write them, or searching for tracing worksheets for those all so difficult ones like G, K, R, S, U, M, N & W, and 2, 3, 5 and 8 (who remembers there were so many!), or forming them in my mind as I drift off to sleep, they seem to be everywhere.
How we take for granted the ability to create precise lines and squiggles on a piece of paper, or to know the symbols on a keyboard, in order to communicate what we think, feel and want to share. And, then, something like volunteering with underprivileged, uneducated children brings it into clear focus. Even a few minutes of helping these kids hold a foreign object in their hands and then getting them to make it conform to some sort of abstract shape, though at times a test in patience, is always a joy to behold. To witness their initial bewilderment, dogged struggle and eventual success, is never to take written communication for granted again.
Today is my last day helping out and I will be sad to miss the continuation and culmination of the program come August. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I’ve seen this ragtag group of kids waiting impatiently outside on the street for classes to start, and then watched them remove their worn, torn, dirty shoes and place them oh so neatly on the concrete steps, wash their hands, exchange smiles and greetings, and then eagerly dash into their rooms to start their school day.
I’ve watched them progress from writing LETTERS, to joining them into words and then into sentences. I’ve watched them progress from writing NUMBERS as numerals, to writing them while saying them in Albanian, and then saying them in English. And just this past week, I’ve watched their faces light up when they got the concept that NUMBERS are also represented by words!
So, here’s to LETTERS and NUMBERS, and to the Fushe Kosove kids who are learning them, and to the world of communication and possibilities this ability to read and write will open for them.
And, yes, here’s to the volunteers who help lead the way…one tricky LETTER and NUMBER at a time.
*Any comments promoting or endorsing this program are purely intentional.