23 September, 2010


The class I do enjoy teaching everyday is computers. I only have 2 students at this time since we only have 2 (VERY old) computers for them to use. We started with the basics of Microsoft Office and typing skills and progressed to email and the internet. Longdy and Pesei are my two students; they are both around 17 or 18 and literally two of the most responsible boys here; which makes teaching them pretty darn easy!

We used to study in Wayne’s office which is also the accounting office. Space was tight and the office is in the children’s dorm so our evening class was always VERY noisy with 50+ children running, playing and the TV blaring in the next room. Because Wat Opot is not a hospice any longer, the hospital room is not needed everyday. It’s just for the occasional sick kid or villager who needs stitches (post forthcoming). Wayne is making major changes here as they morph completely into a place for vulnerable children instead of a place for AIDs patients to die.

The hospital room was divided to make a computer/study room on one half and the other half is a smaller medical facility. I set up the 1 desktop and 1 laptop and installed Microsoft software and also a typing program and we were ready to go! The funny thing is that I got Longdy all set up in the room and went to find Pesei to tell him about the change of location for the class. It was around 7pm and dark outside.

As I prepared to leave the room, he said in a shaky voice “Melinda, are you coming back?” I said “Yes, of course”. He then asked me if I knew why he questioned me leaving; then added “ghosts”. I smiled and put my hand on his shoulder and said “Yes, Longdy, I will come back very fast”. As I walked to the dorm, I remembered Wayne telling me that the kids don’t like to be in the hospice since that was the place where the AIDS patients died (hundreds of them). I realized that the room may have bad memories for some if that is where their parents died.

I rushed back with Pesei and we started out class. The boys are really a joy to talk to and tonight being in this room, Pesei opened up a bit more when he explained that his mother died in this room, in the exact bed that is in the corner. He said it was in 2005. He asked me if I would want to sleep in this room and I told him that I probably wouldn’t have a problem since I was not here when anyone died. He said that he isn’t afraid of ghosts, but the room doesn’t have a good memory for him. I hope the positive learning environment slowly pushes the ‘ghosts’ away and someday the kids will feel comfortable being here again.

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