|Posted by gramma on April 1, 2018 at 7:40 AM|
Another week has gone by and this three-week teaching session is already two/thirds finished. Steve's students are making progress but fluency is not yet in sight. When your students start with essentially no English, it is a challenge when you are teaching IN English. So we are trying to focus on words and concepts that they might need in their daily lives; simple greetings, numbers, days of the week, months of the year, simple sentences using 'to be', vocabulary using pictures, etc. It is amazing how much they can understand between body language and pictures, its remembering that is tough. Repitition, repitition, repitition.
There are about 14 in Steve's class, from Syria, Iran, Kurdistan in Iraq, and Kuwait. They range in age from 11 to 43. They are equally divided between men and women, though most of the 'men' are boys and most of the women are over 25. Not surprisingly, the kids are picking English up more quickly.
This week Steve was again not able to read very much with the two Iraqis, let's call them 'Ahmed' and 'Mohammad', but here is a bit of their history. 'Ahmed' is from Baghdad and his father is a 'police engineer'. If I understood correctly, he operates a mobil unit that can scan the insides of vehicles from outside. Because of 'Ahmed''s father's work with the police, his family is not popular with terrorists. Consequently 'Ahmeds''s brother is a quadriplegic from shrapnel from a bomb blast, his sister has lost the sight in both eyes and another younger brother is blind in one eye. We are so blessed to have not had to experience such carnage.
'Mohammad' is from Kurdistan in Iraq and he fought with the Peshmerga, the US-supported Kurdish militia that Turkey has been bombing. He shared with me that he has been around war virtually all his 37 years of life. First Iraq was at war with Iran, then Iraq invaded Quwait, then the US invaded Iraq, then Hussein attacked the Kurds, then the US invaded again, then Daesh (ISIS). He said he doesn't want his 4-year old son to experience what he experienced, but even here last week 'Mohammad' was beaten by a couple of other refugees.
Every Tuesday and Thursday lunch is served to about 100 people at the Omonia church. But for most of the refugees, it is not just about food, Eleni is 'Mama' Eleni. For the last 10 days she has been on 'Cloud 9' because one of her refugee 'sons', Husam, one of the first to come to Omonia, but who later immigrated to Lithuania, came 'home' to Athens for a 10-day visit. Husam is a barber and has opened a barbershop in Vilnius with a partner and he is doing quite well. Because of his experience with the Omonia church, he didn't just want to visit, he wanted to give back a little, so be bought an old barber chair and spent most of his 10 days teaching young refugee men how to cut hair and give shaves! Omonia is a full service ministry! Husam is Muslim, but Eleni thinks that Jesus has gotten hold of him. It is encouraging for everyone here to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that a new life away from the wars is possible.
Keep us all in your prayers and have a blessed Easter; Easter here is next Sunday.