Helo! I am Soomayyah. I had this for quite some time and then I was asked to share my experience with the world by posting regularly on the ELI blog. I had never done this and did not know whether we said- ‘I need to blog’, ‘I need to post a blog’ and asked the same to Cedric who replied with an SMS beginning with ‘Haha’ that we said ‘write a blog post’. :p
The length of the previous blog posts rather intimidates me but I perfectly understand that if you are at ELI, you have a lot to give, a lot to receive and a lot to share! During my short time as ELI Corps, I have been at Mont Gout, Vallee des Pretres and now I am at L’arche de Noe, Pamplemousses. I have discovered one thing- children have a lot to show us. I just hope I am able to partake a little bit of what I know to them in return.
When I volunteered to go to L’ Arche de Noe, I did not have inkling where the centre was. The only thing I knew was that Cedric was sceptical about me going there alone. When I got off the bus, I took the road which, according to directions taken, was to lead to the centre. I kept walking but no centre in view. I started having some qualms as I realised I was in the middle of nowhere and did not dare ask for directions lest the people would realise that I was a complete stranger here. However I was determined to find it and was in for an adventure! (Ok the second time I went to the centre, the road did not seem that long and was definitely less perilous than I first imagined it to be).
Eventually I saw some boys playing football and I recognised one of them as a student at the Mount. I introduced myself. I was pleasantly surprised at how they opened up so instantly to me. The centre’s gate was locked. Somebody, Kevin went to search for the key and returned saying that the responsible person would come to open soon. I sat on the wall which was quite low. And it hit me- the soft breeze and how everywhere was so peaceful, except the sporadic comings and goings of the school vans and enthusiastic shouts of the boys playing. People passing by stared at me- but in a good natured way (nothing to warn the police about!)- I must be the only veiled girl in the surrounding.
Eventually Georgy came on his bicycle and opened the centre. It was amazing! Bright, roomy and clean. I instantly fell in love with it. The only hiccup was that it did not have the aquarium they had in the centre in Mont Gout.
There were 10 students. I introduced myself as the French teacher. The immediate response was – “Oh Miss, not verbs!’ I fully understand this response and I wish I could be an Art or Music teacher :p My first lesson was to make the presentations. Name, age, occupation, hobbies, ambitions, rank in the family. At the same time I took the opportunity to introduce the meaning of ‘ benjamin’, ‘cadet’, and ‘aine’. I asked the students to present themselves in French but they ultimately resorted to Creole- I did not mind and will not relent. I will ensure that next time they do the introduction in French.
Afterwards I did an activity. The aim was to test their literacy. So I was to write a word, at first it was an object, then a place, then emotions. The children were divided into 2 groups and one student had to come in front and read the word that I had written to himself. Thus I verified whether they could read or not. 2 of them seem to be having some difficulties. (Damien and Linsley) Then they had to draw it on the board and others had to figure out what the word was. It was astounding how they had a lot of imagination. When I said that they were going to represent an emotion, on the outset the students listed an array of emotions. I was not expecting ‘la surprise’ to be one of them, but there it was out of Kevin’s mouth 🙂
I really love what I am doing but it is quite daunting as the children are not of the same age and some need more attention than others. Sonam says am too lenient with them as when I checking those who need some more assistance, the others seize the opportunity to tease their friends. I see this as children who are full of energy but sometimes an abundance of energy can be disruptive. J However all of them are very avid to participate and we have lots of fun and the time flies by.
I always feel so happy and fulfilled when I get home. The children’s enthusiasms, energy, imagination as well as their taunts are contagious. I am so happy to be a member of the ELI Corps. If you are at ELI, you have a lot to give, a lot to receive and a lot to share!