When I was eleven, I had virus pneumonia and whisperings around me let me know people wondered if I might die. I coughed a lot, grew emaciated and hollow-eyed. When my parents took me to a doctor, he started me on penicillin injections weekly for a while. I was told not to carry my baby brothers under any circumstances, just rest. Any eleven-year-old is going to get tired of that kind of life, especially since my treatment was to be for three whole months. For the first time in my life, I knew boredom. It was probably the only time I could not look around and figure out something to do.
In more recent years, I have been working with women who want to break out of the mold–do more than they have done before and be more valuable to their families and their community. Most of the ones I worked with were shy for good reason. They lacked the ability to do things others valued. Since this project began, quite a few have managed to move forward on their own.
Initially my work focused on women who wanted to gain a skill that they could use to bring in income. A few who needed something more basic than job training wanted to learn to read and write. Later I set up after school tutoring sessions for children and some women who needed specific training in English as a second language. I usually handled all the English classes while others taught different classes.