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03/21/2013

Teaching at Happy Home

DSC00183Post by Rachel Spera from Clark University

Hi, my name is Rachel Spera and I am from Los Angeles, California.

During my time here, not only am I going to school, travelling to as many countries I can, and interning, but I am also teaching English! I am teaching 8-12 year olds in Old Naledi (one of the poorest areas in Gaborone) at an afterschool program called Happy Home.  IMG_1192

Before I began working at Happy Home, I decided to go and visit with the aim of determining if I would be a good fit to the program. The moment I stepped out of the car, a little boy came sprinting towards me with a giant smile on his face and hugged my legs. When I looked down at his face; he was smiling back up at me.  I decided then and there that this is definitely where I would be volunteering. IMG_1194

The program director explained that they needed an English teacher.  Here in Botswana, Setswana is spoken at home and English is the language used in schools.  If these kids are to have a chance of getting out of poverty, they need to know English.  During my conversation with the director, she said, “I have been praying for you. We need you here!” I was in the right place, at the right time!

Having taught there for about 4 weeks, I have really grown to love these kids. Interestingly enough, while I am teaching them English, they are teaching me Setswana.  Sometimes I throw in “Go siame!” meaning “Good.”  They laugh every time I try to speak their language. IMG_1193

Every now and then, odd things happen during class, well, odd to me! A chicken once walked through my class.  Yes, a chicken.  The children did not even flinch at the sight of it, but that is definitely not common where I come from.

One of the kids, Kgomotso (kgomo means cow) came to class today without shoes and with a hole in his shirt.  This little boy is the most adorable child I have ever seen.  He is 10 years old and only comes up to my hip.  He always comes into class with a smile and is very eager to come up to the white board and answers questions.  Sometimes I don’t see him because he is so small and he will tug on my shorts with his left hand, right hand still in the air while leaning forward in his plastic chair, “Rachel! Pick me.”  So sweet! I want to keep this little boy! IMG_1195

Teaching at Happy Home is one of the many things I have been doing while in Botswana.  I have been given so many unbelievable opportunities in just the short two months that I have been here. 

Like I said earlier, I am definitely in the right place at the right time! IMG_1196

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