One of the great opportunities our girls have is the chance to write to their sponsors, and to receive letters and pictures in return. Not all our sponsors write, but the girls share the letters and photos that are received, so all benefit.
During our first week here, we gathered our 23 students with writing pads, paper, pens, and their sponsor’s name on a piece of paper. The students in our upper grades already know the format they’ve been taught – the date and location in upper right corner of the paper and they know to begin with “Dear.” A couple are quite fluent with their writing vocabulary – not nearly so talkative without pen and paper. We have two girls in class one, so they are just beginning by copying, letter by letter, words that have been written for them. They don’t even know where to start when forming the letter! We have not yet begun formal classes.
All the girls recopy their first draft, so their letter is as clean and neat as they are able to make it in spite of the inevitable dust and grime and fingerprints that end up marring even a pristine sheet of notebook paper. Now the letters are in my hands to deliver to sponsors when I return to the US. Our letters can be scanned and emailed when Internet is available at the clinic, but I don’t want to burden their slow system, so I will hand carry them home and send them from there.
Ironically, that evening was the first night we watched “Elmo’s World” which had an entire segment devoted to children writing and mailing letters around the world. South Sudan has no postal system, so it will be years before letter can be dropped in a box on a postman’s route.
Deb Dawson, January 30, 2013