Tutoring | Teen Ink


September 30, 2007
By Anonymous

The dreadful smell of the tiny apartment almost made me gag. I held my breath until I met the refugee family from Afghanistan.

I thought tutoring two girls from Afghanistan would be a great experience. There names are Wajiha and Nazifa. My mom found out about the tutoring opportunity through our church. When we went to help them, I went with my mom and my brother. We would see them each week and spend an hour teaching them. Usually I would help one of the girls, my brother would help the other, and my mom would help their mother. Every now and then we would rotate to spend time with everyone.

When we all visited them, not only did we tutor them, but we got to know many things about them as well. They told us that they pray five times a day, their parents choose the husband, and they introduced some spicy foods they eat. I learned that public display of affection is more acceptable in our country than theirs. They are also more modest in the way they dress, wearing longer clothes and covering up their body.

Moving from Afghanistan to the U.S must have been difficult for them because they lost most of their family, friends, and their possessions. When they came to the U.S not knowing any English, I was there to help them. It was tough communicating with them at first, but I didn’t give up. I started by teaching them simple and practical words, like objects around the house. We worked on reading children’s books, spelling words and eventually I helped them with their homework. I loved seeing how they progressed.

It hasn’t been easy for Wajiha and Nazifa as they didn’t have any friends and didn’t really know who to turn to. I tried relating to what they have gone through, and it’s impossible. Change isn’t that easy for me, so I admire their strength and courage. It took a lot of bravery to leave behind loved ones for a better life in America.

I’m glad I didn’t back out of this whole experience because of the way their apartment smelled or how small it was. I am happy I helped the family out and could make a difference in their lives. The girls are currently working at Taco Bell and have worked there two years. They are also making plans to go to WCTC. Tutoring has been very rewarding. I often ask myself, “Who got more out of the experience, us or them?”

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