Sunday, May 4, 2008

Calculus and Expectations

The last time I did any calculus was about 15 years ago. I thought I had another 15 years before Aaron reached the age where I might have had to help him out with it.

Well, it looks like fate has forced us into some early revision, 15 years early. Instead of helping Aaron out, we are helping this girl called Aini. She started work here last week and I found out that three months ago, her father told her she had to stop school. She's 17 years old and has another 2 years of high school, if she passes the exams coming up in 10 days.

So anyway, I thought it was such a waste and felt that she had time during her work day here to study as well. To cut a long story short, she is now trying to catch up on those 3 months of missed school and sit for the exams in 10 days. 7 subjects, including English and Mathematics which we are helping her with. The calculus is killing me....

At the time that I jumped to the conclusion that she was a poor girl whose father sent her off to work instead of completing school, I didn't know that her father also has her engaged and set to marry in early 2009!!!! Well, she definitely is extremely poor but I didn't realize that she has probably grown up around people whose attitudes are that all will be taken care of in a woman's life as soon as she gets married. Education is probably last on the list of things a woman needs. It should have occurred to me but I didn't think of that until now.

I think the girl has been studying hard. Perhaps harder than her usual standards. She seems grateful and also seems to have some slight revelation regarding the importance of education. Yet, I don't expect her to suddenly realize all the additional doors it may (or may not) open for her in the future. I also have no idea if she'll just quit working for us (and automatically quit school as well) in a few months to get married earlier.

Like I told Richard, if we want to help somebody, we do it without any expectations. If the person is accepting and this opportunity helps better her future, then its a bonus for us. If she still ends up getting married at 18 and having 5 kids by the time she's 23, then, its just the way of life here. Who knows? Maybe the experience will influence the way she brings up her kids.


John said...

It's a good thing that you're doing, Amanda. No matter what life course this young woman chooses, perhaps she'll remember the kind people that took time to help her and pay it forward someday (show that kindness to somebody else).

Bilbo said...

It's always interesting to hear your stories about the human side of living in a part of the world I'll probably never see. Your attempts to help this young woman may not ever help her out of her place in the cycle of life, but she'll always remember your efforts (as John said so well). As for calculus, the less said, the better...differential and integral calculus are the rocks on which my dreams of being an engineer crashed many years ago...Russian and German grammar are much easier!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Calculus? Show me the exit please!

Nap Warden said...

Good for you for helping...I don't think I would be qualified:O

Kate said...

Sounds like you are doing a nice thing no matter what the outcome may end up being.

As for Calculus, I believe I'm in the minority, but I miss it! It would probably take me a while to pick it up again as teaching 8th grade math then being a SAHM has left me seriously out of practice, but I love to solve math problems, Calculus included. I know...geek.