Learning to read aged 48 changes life
Reading was Richard Nahi’s greatest fear. But aged 48, he confronted his demon and learned.
‘‘Since childhood it has haunted me not being able to read and write,’’ the former gang member turned pastor from Kohukohu said.
Upon connecting with Christianity 10 years ago and reflecting on himself, Nahi says he wanted to educate himself.
His greatest fear was reading. While there were resources at school for him to learn Nahi says his family environment prevented him from learning.
‘‘Words can become a curse - when something negative is said to you it’s a curse.
‘‘When someone says ‘you’re dumb, you can’t learn’ that’s what you believe.’’
Nahi says his former lifestyle included being a gang member involved in drugs, alcohol and violence.
‘‘I am encouraging others [to learn].
‘‘You only get one chance on this earth, anyone can do it, it’s just how much you want to do it.’’
Although he has mostly taught himself with help from his family - including his nine-year-old granddaughter - the Adult Literacy Rural Trust have supported him with free Skype sessions at his isolated home.
He says working with the trust for the past two months has really cemented his learning.
‘‘I always knew education was the key. It’s a fear thing, you think you are the only person who can’t read or write and if you say you can’t do it you fear backlash from others.’’
He says there comes a point where that has to change and he is encouraging others to learn.
Nahi says although he has held managerial positions in his career and trained other staff members, he would often bring reports and forms home from work so his wife could help him.
‘‘I got pretty good at how to get around the situation.’’
Now Nahi can write his sermons, read the bible and the newspaper.
The Adult Literacy Rural Trust are looking for volunteers to run a ‘literacy hub’ at the Kaikohe Library.
To find out more email email@example.com or phone 0800 891 339.
Richard Nahi says reading is key to a good life.