Last Friday my students in the Farendé Writers’ Society presented their work this summer to the community. Four students read their poems that I had chosen. Though I am not sure why, the students’ poetry was, overall, my favorite of the genres we covered this summer. For Friday’s presentation, one student read about her mother, another about the beauty of nature, another about religion and society, and one about the symbolism of Fulani houses. In all these, and in the pieces of writing they did not read, the students shared pieces of their lives that are so unique. Moreover, they highlighted how everyday things are so important. In all of this, I was extremely proud to see how they had progressed since we first met.
Since my last blog post, there have been still many challenges. In particular, getting students to use cameras for pictures rather than entertainment has been a concern for the past few weeks. Typing up students’ writing but also giving them the most time with their journals as possible has been a logistical nightmare. However, this is not what comes to mind when I think of the end of this project. Although my lessons prompted them to write, I really cannot take full credit for the unique voices they have shared through their writing. What I can claim is the relationships that have formed between me and my students as well as between them as writers. By getting to know each of these students, I have gotten to know some extraordinary people. In classes they have supported each other by explaining lessons and by writing peer feedback. What were before long pauses and blank stares are now the insights and inside jokes that have formed over the summer. It is through writing together over the past five weeks that these relationships formed. And that is really the main point of writing to begin with.