Friday, 23 August 2013

Volunteering as a tutor in the English as a Foreign Language Class

There I was, as always, minding my own business, waiting for a train, quite late at night for me. I had tried to get a bus home from the other side of town and the bus hadn't arrived. It was 8.30pm, too late to be out walking comfortably, on my own, through the rougher parts of town. What to do? A half hour wait at a bus stop until 9pm, what if that bus didn't show? The only thing for it was to risk a walk into the main part of town and take a train. There were some hairy moments, I have to tell you blogger, walking through little tree lined walkways out of sight of the main road. Did I encounter the expected bogey man, burglar,mugger, or any other untoward individual trawling the streets for a victim? No, I didn't.  I did head for the High Street at the earliest opportunity and buy a train ticket to travel two stops in a safer direction so I could do the twenty minute walk at the other end in relative safety.  

So, as I say, there I was, minding my own business, sitting on a bench at the train station, surrounded by tourists, people who have had a long day enjoying Southend on Sea, the place to bring young children on a sunny day, lots of asians and people heading back to London, groups of families and young men. A young asian woman strolled onto the platform, on her own, she came and joined my bench. I guess we both felt a little more safe knowing we were no longer the only single female on the platform. She asked me if I knew what time the train stopped at Barking. 

Okay, so she didn't actually ask me for directions, but it is the next best thing. Asking me for information which I am sure is available at her fingertips via her smartphone. Although, she did just have a conversation with her boyfriend on the phone,she was explaining to him why she hadn't left Southend yet and she did tell him that her phone was about to die.

I guesstimated her arrival time, around 40 minutes from where we were, so she had given her boyfriend the right time to meet her, she had told him around ten o'clock.  I explained to her where I had been (finding out about volunteering in the learning English as a Foreign Language class). She told me her story, how her mum speaks Punjabi and her fourteen year old brother only speaks English and so now she has left home, her mum and brother don't communicate very well and she would love for her mum to learn English.

This sort of coincidence for me blogger, tells me I am heading in the right direction by volunteering as a tutor. In the meantime I will carry on volunteering in a retail shop, hanging donated goods and working alongside a job centre worker who has been let out on day release to help out in a charity shop.

Lots of love and light to everyone who needs it.

Tamasin x

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