March 7, 2009

“I have gladness on you”

Khayakazi is 22 and a mother. As of this year, she is also - again - a high-school student in Grade 11.She dropped out of school a few years back when she gave birth but approached us in early January because she wanted to go a year-long vocational program that would train her to be a health-care assistant of some sort. I went to check the program out, talked it over with her, and asked other people’s advice. One piece of advice I heard stuck with me: “If she doesn’t have her matric [the high school diploma], it won’t matter what course she takes.”

So I sat Khayakazi down and asked her what she thought about going back to school. She hadn’t been a bad student before giving birth and I thought she had a fairly good shot at getting the matric if she returned. To my surprise, Khayakazi was very excited about the idea and almost immediately turned from being set on the health-care assistant course to wanting to go back to high school.

Now she is in school, faithful in her attendance, and clearly overjoyed to be there. She speaks about school with such excitement and is working hard. I don’t see her often because she gets back from school generally after I’ve left for the day but I ran into recently and asked how things were going. “I have gladness on you, Jesse, because you helped me,” she responded. We might need to work on her English a bit but I’ll take the gratitude as a good first step.

A long while back, I noted how in the Biblical story of Naaman, he is reluctant to bathe in the River Jordan because he thought curing his leprosy couldn’t be that simple. But it was and it was a good reminder that sometimes things are simpler than they seem. All Khayakazi needed was the suggestion that she return to school and off she went. That is something I can easily and happily provide.