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Of children, hearts and hope
"Here's something that gave my faith in humanity a boost... I hope it gives you joy, too."
Me too! Watching or reading the news we get few reminders of how good the world really is - and it is really good. Pina continues:.
On Tuesday, Alma's and Leo's school participated in a "physical activity day" in one of the big parks here. It was fun, we all worked up a sweat doing aerobics led by funky chicks in silver wigs ;-) But the real "pay-off" came later.
Because Alma's teacher, Brid Keaveney-Sharp from Ireland, is one of those rare birds who's actually curious about the world around her, 1st grade lingered in the park for a while after the event was over and the other classes had left. On our walk we discovered a small exhibit, set up inside a container, by Doctors without Borders. It was about what people had taken with them when they were forced, suddenly, to abandon their homes. The children were fascinated! Why had the people in the exhibit, many of them children like themselves, chosen to take these particular things?
A key? In the hope of returning home one day, someone suggested.
A piece of cloth? To wrap the baby in, one child speculated.
A doll? For comfort, of course.
Since our children go to an international school, we were also able to speak of connections to their own lives. There were quite a few objects from Chechnya, for instance, which inspired Zhenya, from Bella Russe, to speak at length about his own country. And when Seif from Sudan saw a picture of a boy from his native land, he told his classmates about children begging in the streets and of giving them money. And, of course, he wanted to know the boy's name. Jacob.
And the idea of "what would I take with me if I had to flee?" really sparked the children's imaginations.
Afterwards Brid reminded the children that the class had about 65 dollars left of the bake sale money that they had earned earlier in the year. She suggested that it might be a nice a idea to donate this money to Doctors without Borders, since they work to help children who do not have nearly as much as we have here. The children ALL agreed! And they donated the money there and then, with great enthusiasm. I asked the nurse in charge of the exhibit to tell the kids what could be bought with the money they had just given. They were transfixed when she explained that they would buy very simple things: soap, blankets, vaccinations... Things we take for granted.
The kids were very happy afterwards. Joyous, I'd say. And we were very proud of them.
Posted by Greg Stone at May 14, 2004 08:51 AM