I had my second lesson with my new ESOL learner tonight, and it’s going really well. She’s an Afghan refugee, who only arrived in New Zealand in March, and who speaks very little English, and is pre-literate, never having been to school. So we’re starting pretty much right at the beginning, with the basic language you need for survival: going shopping or to the doctors, filling out name and address details on forms, using the telephone.
As well as covering the practical stuff, we spend some time just chatting. We’re limited of course in how in depth the conversation can be, given her limited ability in English, but we still manage to communicate well enough. We’re almost exactly the same age, but our lives have been incredibly different. She’s fascinated by the fact that H and I don’t have any children – she has 3 children, the oldest 21, and the youngest 13 (makes me feel old!) And when I told her that H is the one who stays home and does the cooking and cleaning, she was amazed! 🙂
The family spent years in a refugee camp in India after they left Afghanistan, so she’s had a pretty tough life. I visited one of the long-term refugee camps when I was in India, so I’ve got a pretty good idea of the conditions they were living in – just another reminder of how totally different our lives have been.