What of the kids of Good Hope?
How do they fit in the fairy story of life? They are the innocent victims of the poverty dragon that is for sure but what of the day to life of the kids who come to Good Hope eager to soak up and absorb every ounce of the limited education we can offer. They are the daily happy ending. Their commitment, effort, love for each other and their families and overwhelming ability to smile in the face of daily adversity is what it is all about for me.
Take Philip, great kid, studying hard. Sometimes the English we teach does not come easily for him but he tries and tries until he gets it. Monday of this week saw me institute a surprise test for Class A based on past standard seven finishing primary school exams. We covered one comprehension exercise based on the use of fast, faster, fastest and faster than. They didn’t fare too well, no big deal that was the purpose of the test, to identify any weaknesses. A volunteer fairy named Lynda stepped into the fray and spent the week reinforcing this exercise and others from the exam. They all knew that on Friday Teacher Gill would ask them to sit a complete standard seven exam paper to see if they had learned and improved.
Philip was not at school for the test, the kids said he had hurt his hand, another boy Richard also didn’t attend. The reasons for Richard’s absence are most likely due to his work commitment within his family. Later, during Friday relax and recreation time both Richard and Philip arrived and wanted to sit the test.
Think about that a little. Philip had a severely sprained wrist which made writing impossible but still he insisted on reading and trying to answer the questions, Richard carries a strong sense of personal responsibility for his mother and younger siblings and was undoubtedly busy with those adult responsibilities, yet he returned and sat the test whilst his friends played football (his passion) and watched a movie ( a rare treat).
Is there anyone out there that can tell me that these two boys and all the rest of the kids do not deserve a chance at education? Not to win the lottery or go on an aeroplane, just the right to an education.
Another example of what it is all about for me. My passion, getting the kids to write stories and learn how to escape their day-to-day troubles with the aid of imagination.
The following is a pretty typical example of the type of story that the kids write for me. It is hard to read off the page here but let at least the first paragraph settle in your mind I beg you. I will give you the jist of the story.
Here we have two families, one richer than the other. The rich family is Richard, his wife and two sons. Imran and one other. The poor family has no parents but we learn of a boy Baraka and his sister Fedha. Fedha and Imran become friends, Imran’s rich father Richard is not happy about this and threatens to turn him out of the family home.
Fedha’s brother Baraka gets sick and so she goes to her friend Imran’s house to ask for help. Richard says no, he will not help the poorer family. Richard’s son Imran intervenes and pleads with his father that it is not right for them not to share and help their neighbour. Imran’s heartfelt plea wins the day and the rich man Richard helps the poor family buy medicine.
Is this not a fairy tale based on life as these kids see it? Or is this more appropriately tagged as a fable, one I am sure my hero Aesop would be proud of.
This is the fairy tale in which I live.