My name is Bob Laperriere. I tutor 2 students, Durga Khawas from Bhutan, and Tha Shi Wah, from Burma. Both are refugee immigrants with remarkable life stories. I became a tutor last summer. I retired from the postal service in 2012 as a letter carrier and was looking for some interesting things to do so, among other things, I ended up as a tutor with Literacy Volunteers.
I had no idea how much fun it would be to meet these fascinating, gracious, gentle people that I have come to respect and love. I think I get more out of these relationships of learning than they do. I grew up in a poor French-Canadian family surrounded by others from Quebec who had immigrated to Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill to work in the mills and shoe shops. I remember the struggles I saw my grandparents and my parents made to improve their lives and can really empathize with these new visitors to America.
On Christmas Eve I received the amazing news that Durga Khawas had passed the US Citizenship test. That truly astounded me as I knew the language disabilities he struggles with. His positive, very hardworking spirit and his clever methods for memorizing language were rewarded. I have learned a lot from both of my students.