Tutoring: Silver Lining’s Peace Corps

Tutoring: Silver Lining’s Peace Corps

“Aslan was gone. But there was a brightness in the air and on the grass, and a joy in their hearts” – The Horse and His Boy, The Chronicles of Narnia


Dan has left Namibia, and so I find myself noticing the small wins that keep me here more acutely.  On my first day back to work after our whirlwind vacation, it was the tutoring that struck me.

Lots of nurses come to me asking that I type things for them, mainly professional letters.  It began to happen so often that I instituted a policy: I never type anything for anybody, but am happy to sit and work with them while they do it themselves.   This is not what they want to hear, and is usually met with indignant resistance.  

“I’m too old!”


“What’s the point I won’t remember any of it a year from now when I need another letter?”


“With these fat fingers? You can’t be serious.”


“I am not a Wambo, I am not smart like them.”


“It will take until tomorrow, the deadline is today.”


“No way, impossible.”


But while they’re still spouting excuses I sit them down in front of the computer, and force them to start typing.  I show them the keys (shift, enter, and space bar) as they need them, and 100% of the time they are able to type on their own after the first ten minutes.  The pride and happiness in their face to have typed the letter themselves, often for the first time, is worth the hour I was taken away from what I was doing.  

To believe in someone who doesn’t believe in themselves, then watch them succeed in such a short time, is a position I’m lucky to be in.  It’s not what I expected, but these impromptu tutoring sessions are some of the most rewarding parts of my experience so far.  Even if they forget the skills I taught them, they won’t forget that they are capable.

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