There was a sweet middle-aged Tibetan woman in my Monday evening English class. She wore lengths of fabric wrapped around her as a skirt and thick woollen socks under her sandals to ward of the cold wet Belgian winter.
Her English was almost non-existent. We worked our way slowly, oh so slowly, through a few basic words. It didn’t really matter. She was going to need Flemish, or maybe French, more than English anyway. Most of my students only joined my weekly class for something to do, to break the monotony of life in a residential centre for asylum seekers. She’d always smile, my small Eastern student, whether she understood or not. But when she finally grasped something for the first time it’d grow a little wider and her eyes would sparkle.
Photo taken by A. Schmid.