Ester is one of our students' wives who has come for the six week course. She is in her 30's and has 8 children. Unfortunately Ester never had the opportunity to attend school when she was a child and she is completely illiterate. Once we had realised this - and her consequent reluctance to attend any of the classes or mix with the other women - we have started to help her. We have found a private tutor for her, a retired primary school teacher, and today she had her first lesson in reading and writing. She is so excited and could barely wait for her first lesson. The word for flower in Swahli is "ua" - a good first word to learn!!
The literacy rate for women in Tanzania is still only around 65% although more children these days are having the opportunity to attend school.
For me, it has been my first time to be so directly aware of the huge problem that illiteracy causes - and the fear and alienation from so much of life. For Ester it would cause great difficulty in her life as the wife of a pastor. It's one tiny drop in the ocean of adult literacy - but an enormous step for Ester and her family. I'll let you know how she's doing at the end of the month!