I had an email today from Happy, who is a lady of 38 living in Swaziland, Southern Africa and, with her permission, I wanted to share it. Here is her story in her own words…
Hi Keith and Lauren your article (Left hand equals bad hand?) is very true to what has been done to us left handers to make us ‘right'. Below is a sharing of my experience.
Myself a left hander I started basic education in our capital town where they didn't try to change me and I learnt how to write using my left. On my 2nd grade of formal schooling I had to move to a rural area to stay with my grandma and be enrolled in a school some kilometers away. Here from the first day all attempts were made to change my hand. From being bitten to getting a burning firewood from the school's kitchen to burn my ‘wrong' hand.
I was eventually saved by my mother who had to leave her work and travel to the rural school and asked the principal to instruct all teachers who I was likely to go through not to change me. My mom is illiterate but working in town made her more open, so her reason was that to change me would make me slow in task management as I'd have to at all times switch from left to right mentally before doing anything.
That's how I got off and amongst my siblings I was the only left handed but good performer at school and general fast thinker, this has earned me respect, they were calling me left handed with less scorn as we grew up as they knew they would soon be calling for a favor.
At home I was only cautioned never to take from someone else anything using my left, it's seen as disrespectful. This was very much ingrained in my mind such that even now I'm always apologetic if I pick something from someone using my left. I Then beat myself up later thinking this is the real me and I know my intention is not to disrespect but to quickly take what had to be taken!
Thanks again, Happy
and in a follow up email after I had asked if we could share her story, she said:
Thanks for your feedback, I love sharing my story because it contributed to making me feel different and stronger. I'm a lady of 38 born and living in Swaziland – Southern Africa.
Feel free to post it as I believe thousands of kids are still reprimanded for being left.