Friday, 11 March 2011

A wee Namaste Update

Stephan
So there have been some changes to my work at Namaste now. After the New Year things seemed to fall into place and Katie and I have started teaching in the afternoons. There are two quite capable girls - Geraldine, 10 years old and Yasmina, 14 years old. They are very keen to learn. I mainly work with Geraldine. Geraldine hasn't been to school in over two years. I teach her English. I may have mentioned this before, but all the school curriculum in Mauritius is in English. Yet, Mauritius is a French/Kreol speaking country. It doesn't make a lot of sense. Anyway, her English was quite limited before our wee afternoon lessons started. But now she knows the alphabet, colours, some facial features and various other vocab which she's learnt from books - like 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'!
It's a bit of a puzzle the story behind Geraldine. Since arriving in Mauritius over 6 months ago it's become quite apparent that Geraldine has no mental or physical handicap... yet, she's living in a home for mental and physically handicapped girls? What Katie and I have learnt is that there is an extreme shortage of homes and places of safety for children in Mauritius. Which inevitably results in some of the unlucky ones being placed in homes unsuitable to their needs. It's really very sad to see.
Katie and little Sebastien
Though Geraldine comes across as a very happy little girl. She is well taken care of at Namaste. In some of the homes in Mauritius children live in far worse conditions. She often comes to us for cuddles and kisses. She has a little trouble with her speech - and can't pronouce my name correctly "Keeeeeeloeee!" (very cute). And causes a little mischief at the home. She lives to wind one of the older girls up, Jenny. Who will then chase her round the house with Geraldine screaming at the top of her lungs!
It's going to be hard to say goodbye. She has all of a sudden realised that we're not going to be here forever... everyday she asks us, "Are you coming tomorrow?". And now she's started to ask us, "Are you coming in January, February, March??". And every time we tell her, we go home in August or yes, we're coming tomorrow. But still she asks. When the day comes that we have to say "No, we're not coming tomorrow" it's going to be heartbreaking. But on the brighter side, hopefully there will be volunteers at Namaste next year! And they can carry on the work we left off. Nick our Desk Officer from PT is coming to visit soon so we shall see!
That's all for now!

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