Barrie Adleberg
Digital Play Designer
mural4.jpg

Imitunu

Imitunu means "wide open eyes" in Kinyarwanda.

ESL

Monday, December 28, 2009 

(Scene: A dark gravel path, sparsely lit, I am walking beside 3 girls from the dining hall back to our houses after dinner.)

"Mureweh!" I call out. (Good afternoon/ evening)

"Hello!" they respond enthusiastically. Today was the first day the American volunteers led English classes and everyone was anxious to practice what they learned. Many of us assessed the class level by playing games, singing songs, and exchanging greetings... some students only absorbed fragmented sentences and a few greetings.  

"How was your day?"I reciprocated... ... ... silence. Even in the dark I could see their blank faces staring back at me. 

Let's try something else... "How are you?"

This was returned with a sudden chorus of, "I'm great!" "Very fine!" "Nice, and you?"

Interested in the response, I probed on, "Did you like dinner?"

... stares...

hmmm, "Do you like English class?"

... stares...

"Did you have fun today?"

...

Then one girl broke the silence, "I LOVE YOU!" she exclaimed with pride. 

I wondered if she knew the meaning of her words. I hugged her and she grabbed my hand tightly. Though we could only exchange a few words and I've only known her for 3 days, at that moment I truly felt her love and the genuine excitement she felt knowing her communication was successful. So, I responded, "I love you too." 

A second later she replied, "I LOVE TO PLAY FUTBOL!" ... And the moment was gone. 

Barrie AdlebergComment