“Excuse me ma’am. Good afternoon. Please tell me, how is my sister doing in class?”. The sister of this young man said nothing at this point; she just stood there and murmured to herself. “Hi. Actually, I’m not her teacher. She’s in the teenagers class and I teach 7 and 8 year olds, I said to him. “Ohhh. Ok. I see…” her brother said realizing. “But I could ask her teacher and put an eye on her for you” I said, cutting short his thought process but that was the beginning of an unending rant from him.
“Please!!! Do that. This girl! Simple English! She doesn’t know and she is writing her final high school exams soon! She just keeps disgracing me with her terrible grammar…” and he went on and on until she began to “fight back”. “I knows English. If I had been taking the English class, I will has been better but mummy have refuse to give me money to pay for the lesson”. “Did you ask her? He responded. She began to counter his every word whilst I stood there speechless till I got tired of the banter and butted in “Ermm, she’ll get better. I’ll see what I can do”. At that point, I looked at her and saw she was torn. Then I said to her “see me in my class next week” and she nodded.
A week passed and there I was, in my class, rounding up for the day and she walks in. “Good afternoon ma. You said I should see you today”. “Ohhh, that’s true. So tell me, what is the real problem? What’s the issue with English?” And she began to speak “I’m not bad at English at all. I’m just better with mathematics. I love maths and calculation but everytime at home, my mummy and everybody will just be insulting me and calling me names and…” then her voice started breaking “and I don’t want to fail. I feel bad aunty. It is so embarrassing”. She broke down and began to cry. “I asked my mum for money for my English class but she refused to give me. I sneak in to join other students at the lesson but everytime, they embarrass me and we always get chased out by the teacher because we have not paid”.
I was broken. In that very moment, I couldn’t fault her English at all. I heard no flaws. Tears welled up in my heart but I had to be strong. I said to her “you are not a failure. You will not fail. Your family will be proud of you. You’ll pass your English exams and you’ll be just fine”.
I gave her the money for the lessons and accompanied it with a hug. “Your mum will be proud of you someday”. It wasn’t about the money, it was about her confidence. She smiled and gave a sigh of relief.
A week later, I saw her, passed by and smiled in my heart. Somehow, she seemed happier and more upbeat. I had planted yet another seed in someone’s life. One I hope flourishes.