Thursday, August 19, 2010

The rain slept on the roofs

Author: Michael Usi

For what one would call literal translation of my vernacular Chichewa , I would say the rain slept on the roofs’ .It rained throughout the night and the following morning I was on a trip with Mrs. Thoko Mwapasa, Project Manager for RECAB (Resilience and Capacity Building) to Lisungwi, one of the project catchment areas. We started off in the rains to the site.

The field visit was aimed at assessing the crop situation in the drought stricken villages, monitoring the progress of the PD Hearth approach of restoring and maintain body weights of the under five children, to learn more on the ADRA/Government and World Vision Task Force for the Looming Hunger and appraising the Savings and Loan Committees.

On the way and more when we got to Lisungwi, the manager decided that we also should look at the progress of the Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) Activity.

I was impressed with the enthusiasm and fact based evidence of the progress of the initiatives. It was also apparent by just driving around that 2010 will be a very bad year for maize harvest in this area.

It was however heart fulfilling seeing in reality what I read in project reports unfolding. It was like watching a movie after reading a script.

Now a special moment arrived! The project manager started quizzing the FAL class students on spellings. The old ages and looks of the students were enough evidence t o believe that they would not pass the spelling quiz that Thoko had just planned. I was not very sure how the mood would be if they kept failing the spelling quiz. One by one they spelled their names right. It was r abe ka (Rabecca), then ro zi b e Ke ne si ( Rozibe Kenesi). I was impressed and wished Thoko had stopped the quiz at least to end on a good note. Then it was the turn of a lady with shy and timid looks. As if that was not enough, she had the longest name to spell. I wished she had a shorter name at least for this quizz! Immediately my primary standard 2 school time parachuted in my mind. I remembered how my teacher Mrs Damalekani spoiled my day.

It all started with us on the front seats being asked to spell when, what, which, where. My turn had not come till my time came.They all did well and enjoyed hand clapping. I was ready to spell why since that was the only word remaining on the list that was supposed to be memorised. To my surprise, my teacher asked me to spell under!!!! Everybody in the class sympathised with me. I looked at the teacher and do not remember to have been seeing her. I was in my own world. She repeated as if she knew that I thought she had made a mistake for indeed that is what I thought. ‘Spell under’. I just had to confirm my failure by spelling it out.

Now goes Asiyazawo to the blackboard. Beaming with confidence, she picked the piece of chalk, looked at nobody and went writing Asiyazawo. She stopped when she finished writing the name. As she walked back to her seat, everybody was either laughing, smiling, looking, shaking heads or admiring Asiyazawo. She did it. Coincidentally her name means ‘not minding your business’. I did mind her business of capability to spell her long name. She was toast of the day and indeed of the visit!

The women cited need to read the bible and sing church hymnals as main motivation for interest in FAL classes. I was impresses! Indeed where there is a will there is a way! Greetings to Asiyazawo and the class!

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