Vanessa Schröter berichtet von ihren eindrücklichen Erlebnissen als Volunteer im Bashira Centre.
Erst vor kurzem kam Vanessa in die Schweiz zurück und unterstützt nun SAO weiterhin von Zürich aus - vielen Dank Vanessa!
In ihrem zweiten Bericht aus Bashira erzählt Euch Vanessa warum Sprache weit mehr ist als nur Worte. Sprache ist das, was man mit den Augen, einem Ausdruck im Gesicht, Gesten, seiner Stimme oder einem Lächeln sagt. Sprache ist essentiell und es gibt so viele Möglichkeiten, sich mit anderen Kulturen zu verständigen.
The egg of the hen
"Imagine you enter a place full of people chatting lively. Suddenly, their conversations fall silent and their eyes start to follow you through the room. You know, whatever you are going to say now, the people will not or only partially understand. Anyway: ‘Good morning’ – ‘Hello teacher” – ‘How are you?’ – nothing – The students exchange confused looks. What did she say?
The same happened in Bashira. A bunch of women, sat eagerly waiting for their first English lesson in the classroom, shy to say a word, embarrassed that they have barely ever hold a pencil between their fingers, but hope shimmering in their eyes. They could not understand more than ‘hello’ and I could not say more than ‘chubi’ or good in Farsi.
The first time this happened to me I got nervous, how to explain something even simple? Or how will I teach the rest of the class content when my understanding of my students’ language is zero?
Well, I learned to use any source available to bring across meaning. Big and small with hand movements, tea with pointing at my cup, sharpener with the utensil, emotions with face expressions, like angry, and egg? haha. Egg, I acted out, flapping my arms, clocking like a hen, then I squatted and plup, there was an egg. The women hugged each other from laughing so hard. What can I say, my drawing skills are even worse. Apparently, egg is ‘tochme mourgh’ in Farsi or translated ‘egg of a hen’. You see, we understand each other.
What I want to tell here is that language is far more than words. Language is what you say with your eyes, your face, your hands, your body, your voice pitch, and your smile. Language is crucial, language is necessary to live, but there are so many ways to find a connection to each other, you just have to try even if it is just google translator.
Today, the same group of women read their first words fluently in English, copied them and reread them over and over again. The pride in their eyes was the best award I could have ever gotten for all my not-so-talented acting efforts. Yeeahh. "
If you would also like to volunteer at the Bashira or Amina Centre please visit our volunteer site or become a SAO member.