Adult literacy classes organized by The Center for Community Empowerment and Transformation (CCET) in Rotifunk started in May- June. Here’s a picture of some of the adult learners in a lesson at one of the local primary school buildings.
These adult students are women typically in their 30’s with little to no literacy. As small farmers and market traders, mothers and perhaps single parents, their lives are as full as working women everywhere. But they are committing themselves to gain new skills that will help improve their small businesses and allow them to take bigger roles in supporting their children’s education. You can read more about these women and the literacy program CCET is customizing for their needs here: adult-literacy-what-do-they-really-need-to-know/ .
Classes will take a few weeks break now. It’s planting time for farmers and vegetable gardeners, and these students need to focus on getting their crops in and off to good start as the rainy season moves to a peak. It’s also Ramadan, the annual month of prayer and fasting for the Muslim students. These women need to be home cooking in late afternoon and preparing for their family breaking the daily fast at sundown. This is when adult classes would normally be taught – after the day’s work is done and before it gets too dark to see in this small town with no electricity.
The adult literacy instructors from CCET need a break, too. They are teachers at Prosperity Girls High School, and just completed an intense couple months of preparing students for exams and conducting exams. They need time off for holiday and to visit their families living in other towns.
Teaching can be a bit hard in the peak of the rainy season anyway. I’m sitting in my greenhouse as I write this and listening to the rain drumming on the glass above me. We’ve had unusually heavy rain for July in Ohio. But this is nothing like the monsoon rain in Sierra Leone’s lowland plains where 100-120 inches a year is the norm, falling all in a seven month period.
Today’s rain is bringing back memories of trying to teach in Rotifunk in July and September when the skies opened and dumped a solid white curtain of rain on the metal roofs of classroom buildings. No one could hear you when the rain was like horses galloping over your head. You had to just pause and wait for it to pass before resuming the class. A break in classes right now for Mother Nature is in order.
I smiled when I saw the above picture of adult students perched on short primary school benches with legs stretched out in front of them, intent on their lesson. The teacher doesn’t have to keep control of a room of fidgety teen students here. These women want to be here. They’ve been asking for classes to resume their education after ten or twenty years’ break, or to just begin now. I can’t wait to see how they progress come September.