This autumn, I am in Bhutan to teach the alphabets from A to Z as part of the I CAN FLY Project (see below)
When pencils and papers are handed out, a muffled groan arose from the 33 new ANA weavers! And when I write on the white board the first letter - A - more murmurs of agony. Hmmm...This is harder than I thought!
So, I go to one of my sisters, kneel down beside her. I held her hand in mine as she grasps a pencil for the first time. Literally hand-in-hand we scrawled A shakily on paper.
I lost count of how many hands I grasped in mine, as we cross the threshold of illiteracy to the letter A for the first time on the morning of 23 Oct 2017.
And again, we grimaced as we advanced towards C D E. We all groaned at G. A big sigh of relief at “I” and H was another small reprieve. And gasped in dismay at the impossible letter M.
But do you know which letter nearly slay us? The letter S. That curvy looping! They stare in stupor silence as I snake out S over and over on the board. Half defeated, I call for a tea break.
Fortified by tea and biscuits, we now feel the letter S is friendlier. I make it look more like a 5 with angles. Conquering S like superwoman on steroids, it was easier to get everyone to Z from there. Yay!
I felt like I can fly to the moon when they hold up their homework of very cute handwritten A to Z. Oh Ana, I wanna hold your hand - again!
Written by Quin Thong, founder of ANA by Karma (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I CAN FLY is a new project under trial with ANA weavers, where we preserve the Bhutanese traditional waist belt weaving techniques by introducing a new use - a luggage belt for global travellers. Connecting you to Bhutan weavers with an app, you can design your luggage belt by adding your name, pattern and colour.