Out of the Mouth of Babes

An everyday English lesson opens a volunteer’s eyes to her Bhekulwandle students’ reality.

Recently Jacqui, a volunteer teacher working with the 11-14 year-olds on their English lessons, asked the students to make up sentences to share with the class.

“One of the boys made a sentence with the word “spread.” He said, “I will not spread the AIDS virus.” I was blown away by that and I felt a reality check. I had been thinking about butter being spread!”

If it takes a generation to change a community, sentences like this are a promising sign. Week by week and year by year, Bhekulwandle’s children hear messages of wisdom and hope as they attend afternoon classes at the Centre. The young ones learn through stories, crafts and songs while the teens have discussions and get extra lessons in school subjects. And the children’s own words remind us how important those afternoons are.