Sometimes it is hard to believe that there were NOTHING written in eMwinika a few years back. When we arrived here, the Mwinika language was still unwritten – they did not even have an alphabet! Now, there are translated Scripture in eMwinika as well as a eMwinika Literacy course to teach Mwinika speakers how to read and write their own language.
In many ways the meeting with the Mwinika leaders about the upcoming Literacy classes was a breakthrough meeting:
* One reason is that the leaders decided to send representatives of each of family to the Literacy classes. This means, that the pressure to attend different community or family events will be lifted from these students and they would (hopefully) be able to attend all the classes.
* This also means that these students will be answerable to their leaders if they do not attend for whatever reason! Furthermore, they chose a committee that will be responsible for the students and their attendance.
* Another reason why this meeting was so positive, is that the leaders agreed that their families will contribute to registration fee for the Literacy classes. This is a huge thing! The feeling always is (not only under the Mwinika, but also in other parts of this country) that they should be paid to attend a course. (Something some aid organizations often do). For most of us, it does not make sense not to pay to attend a course since we put so much weight on education and preparation for our future. However, this is not the Mwinika’s point of view. As one family chief put it:
“Why cut yourself a cane while you are still young?” Meaning: why worry about the things still to come? They will take care of themselves!
But, like with most people, the Mwinika does not put much worth in something that they get for free. In the end education, like everything else, is a case of priorities. We do not want to encourage dependency, but we do want to see our neighbours and friends to be well informed. Ignorance is to cause of too much pain and death in this community.
May being able to read open the Word and the Truth to an eternal future for many Mwinika people!