The program and curriculum had been designed for Patpatar adults who were unable to read and write, but that didn’t seem to matter. Now truckloads of the most highly educated folks in Patpatar were arriving to attend the week long training workshop.
A month earlier, I had been visiting with the local elementary teacher. We were discussing the problem that many kids in the village opted out of going to school and most of those that did attend still struggled to read simple words after repeating 1st and 2nd grade over and over. The result was preteens in 3rd and 4th grade unable to go on and dropping out. This does not create a good scenario for future generations in regards to literacy and education.
I asked the elementary teacher if he would be interested in attending a training workshop for the adult Patpatar literacy program. I suggested that he may be able to tweak it a bit and use it in the elementary school.
A week later he came back and told me that he brought the idea up in the district educational meeting. He gave me a list of nearly all the 30 plus elementary teachers in the Patpatar tribe, plus some from adjacent language groups. I was surprised at the number of names, but didn’t think that these teachers would all actually come.
On the first day of the training workshop, even more than were on the list showed up. They spent a week of their school break to come attend the training. They gladly went on smaller rations of food cooked over the fire, slept on the cement floor, and bathed in the creek to be able to attend. At the closing we were able to soak in their words of appreciation for the materials, a curriculum, and a program that was do-able in their classes.
Then, last week we were also able to start up another 4 month long literacy class for the Patpatar adults. The toughest decision was turning students away because the class got to be full. Although I was able to help Lori the first week, she is now leading the class with some of the trained Patpatar teachers, and getting them ready to take it over completely again next month.
There are already schools here in the Patpatar tribe. About half the population can already read (at least on a 2nd grade level). So why? Why have we spent months and months of our lives and thousands of dollars to come up with some simple materials and a program to teach the Patpatar how to read and write? Because we want those who are illiterate to be able to read and we want those who are literate to become proficient readers so that they can all read the words that God has written for them in His Book!
Fact – John 3:16 in Patpatar: “Io, God ga manga sip iakan ra ula hanuo hoken, bia ga tar se no uno halhaliana Bulukasa, bia sige i nurnur tana pa na hiruo iesen na hatur kawase nora nilon hathatika.”