This morning I was invited to visit the deaf school that Mary’s Meals sponsors just across the sidewalk (which the workers here have newly constructed) in Mike’s compound.
What a beautiful blessing! I sat in on a seventh grade class full of male students. The education system in Liberia is set-up the same way as The United States. By this I mean that children are relatively the same age, as those students in the United States when in certain grades. For example, a student in first grade would be six years old in both countries.
However, unlike The United States, Liberia is just now beginning to recover from a long, drawn-out civil war. This war greatly impacted the people of Liberia (go figure) and forced many Liberians to stop attending school.
The students at the deaf school are also unique in the fact that many of them had not started school, ever. Can you imagine what it would be like to be unable to communicate with those around you? I am grateful that these children are able to find their voices.
What this means is that there are many people in grades that are much older than their peers. For example, it would be common to see a 20 year old in 7th grade. As an educator, it is heart-warming to see people who are so enthralled with learning that they are willing to come back to schools to gain their education.
In class, the students learned about the four types of sentences. The instructor laughed and said many of these students cannot correctly identify the sentence types. I had to laugh myself as we have similar problems in the United States. In fact, it was interesting to note all of the commonalities between the two education systems, and students.
Students in Liberia struggle with the same concepts American students struggle with: constructing sentences, identifying adjectives, and finding their own voice. Small similarities like these are what really help you to realize that we are all just people, with the same problems, no matter how many thousands of miles lay between us.
I enjoyed watching the students excel and master their content today. It was such a beautiful sight to see their smiling faces, and to have them welcome me. I learned to sign: “Hello, my name is Alex” and “Good Morning.” I am excited to continue to learn more every day.