Toni’s story

Som vi berättade tidigare så skickade vi ner Toni Olander till våra barn på barnhemmet för två veckors intensivutbildning i engelska. Vi hade anlitat Toni som lärare för barnens sverigevistelse men då den inte blev av skickade vi ner Toni till Awassa istället. Resan blev en succé, barnen var nöjda och Toni blev helt såld på Etiopien och barnen och kommer troligen åka ner igen senare i år.

Här är Toni’s egen berättelse! has never been on my wish list for places to go. All I have ever read about Africa is civil war, poverty, draught, famine and misery. But, when I was asked to teach English to 12 students in Ethiopia I jumped at the chance. I let go of my prejudices and accepted this assignment. And I am so glad I did. That trip was a fantastic experience for me. was decided that we would live in a hotel away from the student’s home to give the students a change of environment and hopefully they would speak more English. We were in a town called Dukem. It was about an hour from Addis Ababa. assignment was to teach English 8 hours a day, every day. Our classroom was on a porch, which was very nice, and I had a white board to my disposal. We had no internet, no dictionaries and no Google translate. But, that was OK. The students were enthusiastic, motivated, happy and willing to learn. Many times I told them that they were a teacher’s dream. I had no discipline problems. These students asked questions, hung on every word I said, worked diligently and were very interested. We read texts, studied grammar, wrote a diary every day, spoke English and acted out certain texts. brought a book from Sweden to read to the class every day. In my opinion, Astrid Lindgren is one of best authors of children’s literature in the world. I decided to bring The Brother’s Lionheart to read aloud every day to the class. I never had a class that listened so intently! They stopped me when they didn’t understand. We learned vocabulary. We acted out certain sections. It was wonderful! had class from 8-4 pm with a half hour for breakfast and a half hour for lunch. At 4 pm I was to activate the students in English. So I taught them how to play American baseball. It seemed hopeless at first but then we got a game going eventually. We also visited the swimming pool twice. I encouraged the students to dive from the diving board. Many of them did and became good at it. student, Chernet spoke politics to me almost every evening. He was especially interested in Obama and his visit to Stockholm. Another student, Aynalem showed me how Ethiopian coffee was made the traditional way. All the others talked to me in English. We had wonderful conversations and I learned a lot about Ethiopia and its history and its people. was moved by these students’ compassion, interest and love. I felt a warmth and connection with them. I hope I get the opportunity to help them again with their English. found their English failing. Their pronunciation was very hard to understand. They needed help with grammar. They could read texts and spell words but they used too many words in a sentence. But, even with these deficiencies I understood everything they said. I found it strange. a wonderful, beautiful, loving assignment I have experienced. I am so glad that I let go of my prejudices and accepted this assignment. It was a real challenge but so worth the effort. I came back with much more than I gave. And I would say yes to another assignment like this one.”

Antoinette (Toni) Olander

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