The kids and I came to an agreement a while back that if I taught (or at least attempted to teach) english that they would humor my geography and culture lessons. And even though they don’t really get why it’s important, they listen to me talk about world religions and populations and are finally starting to understand the difference between continents and countries (seriously, Asia and Africa are countries according to them). Clearly, they don’t remember all the details (I would be shocked if one of them remembers the capital of India – something we went over this week) but that’s not the important part.
The important part is that they are realizing that it’s a big world out there. Not everyone is Christian, not everyone speaks Spanish and you may never even meet a person from this distant country we are discussing BUT these kids halfway around the world eat rice like you do and they like to play sports like you do and they have beautiful and interesting cultures that are worth thinking about and appreciating. And sometimes all they care about is that they get to color and take a break from writing down more english vocabulary. But sometimes they surprise me and all excitedly join me in greeting each other like they do in India or remind me that in Japan they have this thing called sumo. It’s beautiful because these little facts and activities at the very least may help them develop more tolerance – something so basic, but still lacking in so many places and situations.
I am still frustrated by feelings of not accomplishing anything. But I’m trying to remind myself that every little bit matters and that even these world lessons make a difference. Even if it’s just to explain the difference between continents and countries to a group of kids.
After our lesson on the Philippines we all decorated our own Jeepneys.
Also, this is completely unrelated, but I just wanted to mention that today one of my lovely fellow PCMIs Pat got married today. It’s a classic Peace Corps whirlwind romance starting with training last fall and culminating in a beautiful ceremony in Miami today that I actually got to watch via livestream. Technology is amazing. (Note to other friends thinking about getting hitched: I’d rather you not until I get back. But if you must, please livestream it.) Huge congratulations to both Pat and Daniel, the newest Peace Corps love story.