I paid visit to a good friend of mine yesterday. It so happened that her daughter, in primary one, was finding it difficult to concentrate on her reading. So I picked up her note book, opened it and pointed out the words for her to read. Timidly, she read.
"Com...communi...cable disease a...."
"Diseases" I corrected.
"Communicable diseases are those diseases that are trans...fered from one person to another."
"Very good." I commended her and made her read it two more times. "Now that you've read it, can you, without looking at your book, tell me what communicable diseases are?"
She was quiet, her eyes darting everywhere except me and the book.
"You can't remember what you just read?" I asked. Still, she was quiet.
"Okay. I will explain. You see, communicable diseases are those diseases that goes from one person to the other through contact. For example, if I touch the sweat of someone who has ebola and I'm not quickly given medical treatment, neither did I wash and use sanitizer on my hands, I too will have Ebola. If I use the same spoon with an Ebola patient, or the same towel or clothes he/she has sweated on, I will contact Ebola. So, Ebola is a communicable disease because it can be transfered from one person to the other. Do you understand now?"
She noded in response. "Oya, tell me. What are communicable diseases?"
"Communicable diseases are...." She looked up at me, not sure if her next words will be correct.
"I just explained now, Amaka. You're not supposed to forget."
"Communicable diseases are....those that....that have Ebola."
"What? Amaka! Hahahahaha...." I couldn't control the laughter. She joined me, obviously feeling relieved that I didn't spank her. "Amaka" I called, after I had recovered from the laughter. "Was that what I told you?"
"Errrr.... But you say Ebola..." She turned around playing. I guess she was glad she could repeat to me what she believed I had told her earlier.
I had to sit her down and explain all over. I toned it down so she could follow. I usee differnt examlles. Finally, she said she had understood.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. She was excited. All traces of timidity gone."
"OK. Tell me."
"Communicable diseases go from one person to the other. If my friend have disease and I use her brush, I will have it too. That one is communicable disease."
"Very good. But you know I also told you the types of communicable diseases. Now its your turn to tell me."
"Chicken pox, HIV, Ebola."
"Good girl. Give me high five." And she gladly gave it.
Kids are wonderful. If only we would take time out to make them understand what we are trying to communicate, they will be happy to fully understand. Shout out to all parents, guardians, teachers and all who impact a child's life positively, one way or the other. It is not a small something to talk and talk and talk, until the child gets it.
You all have a great day today.