While we were on the porch this evening before dinner Perez brought by Sowuta, an older woman from Gblétia, a village 30km to the north of us. She has learned to read and Perez, one of our Bakwé literacy teachers, was so proud of her. Other people had told me about this woman. She had some gray hair and was obviously older. She said that she had never gone to school, but that she has learned to read in our literacy classes. She has amazed everyone! To prove it to us Perez handed her the Bakwé primer and she read the first several pages that had pictures and words under them. I praised her but I was wondering if she had just memorized these, but then she turned to the very back of the primer and began reading the last and hardest story about Rat and Lizard. She read fluently! She handed the primer back to Perez.
Then, she fumbled with her bag and pulled out a well worn copy of the Gospel of John in Bakwé. I could tell it had been well used because it had oily brown stains where you flip the pages and some pages were bent at the tips. She opened it up and began reading from John 1:1. Again, she read fluently. Tears came to my eyes. After several verses he stopped and explained to Perez how she had read the whole book, all the way to where it talks about Lazarus dying and Jesus raising him to life, and to where it talks about Jesus dying. She was so proud. She said the Baoulé and the Mossi had their Bibles, but the Bakwé didn’t for a long time, and she now can read it in her own language. She also said that many Bakwé don’t get it; they don’t see the importance in reading. So she is on a campaign. She tells everyone she meets to come to class and learn to read or themselves. I was so encouraged and you could tell that Perez was proud of her too.
It makes it all worth it to see someone excited about reading God’s Word! And someone who had no access to it before this! Praise God who blesses the work of our hands and the sweat, the tears, the malaria, the typhoid and the fatigue)! On our way to San-Pédro on the 24th we will leave here at 6:30am and stop in the village of Petit Gabo on the way to San-Pédro just to observe another reading class in action. This village has literacy class at 7am in the morning before going to the fields.