For those who have kids-who have homework- imagine if your child asked you "Mom, can you help me with my reading assignment?" For many of us-we would sigh, saying, "yes, just hang on I will be right there"-and then sit with our child and help them (sometimes painfully-ok, maybe just me) with their reading. For many women in rural Liberia-their response is very different. They look at their child and have to reply, "No, I can't I don't know letter" (letter is sometimes what they call reading here) They feel embarrassed. They feel helpless. They feel ashamed.
Now think about when you go grocery shopping. You buy what you need, the grocery teller tallies it up, you look at the amount you owe, get your money out, pay and you are on your way. Now imagine you don't know how to add, subtract, or what the number 3, 5, 8 or 9 even look like! Many times when women in Liberia go to the market they are short changed because they don't know how to add or subtract the amount of goods they have purcahsed or sold. They are taken advantage of. They feel embarrassed. They feel helpless. They feel ashamed.
Literacy and numeracy...very powerful tools and yet ones that we probably can't even remember when we first learned them! Do you remember the first time you knew how to add and subtract? For me, it was somewhere between grade 1-4, (I guess)-and reading would fall into that same time frame. However, when you don't know how to read, write your name, recognize numbers, or add and subtract there is a feeling of embarrassment, helplessness and shame. These women deserve to be empowered with literacy and numeracy skills. More importantly, they deserve to not feel embarrassed, ashamed, and helpless. They just want to be able to help their kids with their homework.
I will be sharing more CLP stories on my blog-this is just an introduction to one of the programs that I am running 26.2 miles for. I will post pictures of these projects too. But for now just enjoying reading this blog-because you can. Stay tuned for an introduction to WASH on the next blog entry.
Had a good early morning run-and will have a hard speed workout at the track later on under the 2pm Liberian sun...mercy.