signing hands

March 25, 2007

It was a moment that froze itself in my memory—a still frame of sorts, marked in its exquisitely ordinary coming about.
The sun was blazing, but nearing its late afternoon waning point, as I walked to the neighboring compound. My intention was to meet up with Purity on the way, as I knew she was planning to attend my Women’s Study that evening.
Getting to the village itself, I instead began to search for her home, not knowing yet which was her house. I did know, however, that my three pupils had come to the village with her, for a Sunday afternoon visit; this knowledge made me suspect that it would not be terribly difficult to find them. My suspicion was correct.
Spotting a small congregation of brown heads, I shielded my eyes to get a better look; then I smiled to myself as I headed towards the telltale crowd of curious children. Sure enough, I soon also spotted three very blond heads in their midst.
But then I realized what was happening, and I was stopped short in pleasant amazement: There stood my nine-year-old young charge patiently teaching “Into My Heart,” in sign language, to all the village children. These youngsters, from two years of age on up to twelve, were all painstakingly copying her motions and repeating each word she dictated.
Catching sight of me then, Eva summoned me over to help [though I was thrilled to notice that she knew it perfectly, after only 2 days of us working on it during our school day lessons!]. She wanted me to sing it, being too shy herself to sing out loud for them all. So I sang and signed, to a chorus of heavily accented echoes, as the sun set over the river behind us.
From the mouths of babes . . .
Strange how the most memorable moments of learning, in my life, have often come about outside of [and perhaps in spite of] all my school day plannings and lesson preparations.

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