Sunday, October 27, 2013

Little kings and queens for a week

“Ciao, Hello, Namaste, Hullo, Talofa, Shalom !” It was ‘International Week’ in the slums of Mumbai and the current multinational GPM-Entwine cohort introduced the children to several different cultures through dance, song and games - and the children were simply fascinated by it all! 

After the children ‘flew’ around the class like airplanes and ‘landed’ in different countries, Tori, from the UK and Jenny from the US presented their respective countries with fun games and activities. Tori showed pictures of Buckingham Palace and The Queen with a crown on her head while Jenny spoke about the Statue of Liberty that also has a crown on its head. The children then received colored paper crowns of their own and were taught how to wave like the Queen of England-there were lots of giggling!

Shira, who was born in South Africa, talked about safaris and animals. The children acted like elephants, lions , monkeys and other wild animals most of which can be found also in India. People passing by the classes in the slums were quite shocked to hear roaring lions and screeching monkeys!

Eden from Israel explained the magical part of the Western Wall in Jerusalem where many people write their wishes on pieces of paper and place them in the cracks of the wall. The children then wrote down their wishes and told the rest of their class: how they wish to be policemen, nurses, rickshaw drivers or doctors, how they would like to do well in school and how much they want to make their parents proud. Eden told the children that when she returns to Israel she will place their wishes in the crevices of the Western wall!

Deborah, from Italy cooked pasta for the children, a food that they have not tried before. Some children really liked the new taste while others asked for some (Indian) spices to add to their pasta! The few words of Italian were difficult to pronounce but the children had a ball trying them out.
Leah from the US had spent several months in Samoa and introduced the children to the culture of this tiny Pacific island. The children had fun learning a cute mixed Samoan and English nursing rhyme about walking, talking and love.

The aim of ‘International Week’ was to simply broaden the children’s understanding of what is beyond the world they know-the slums of Mumbai. Indeed most of the children have never left the slums and have no exposure to the rest of India let alone the rest of the world. 

A fantastic moment happened at the end of one teaching day when groups of children could be seen throughout the slums wearing their crowns and royally waving like the Queen. The smiles on their faces showed that in the slums that day they were all little kings and queens.
'Look at us! We are waving like the Queen of England!'
A boy makes a wish
Leah with Anju, the teacher and her baby Ayush who also wears a crown
Talking about the countries of the world
Walking through the slums wearing crowns
Listening to a Samoan poem
With Eden...
Roaring like lions on safari in Africa
Yummy pasta from Italy
More yummy pasta from Italy
'Hello' and 'Thank you" in many languages
Placing a wish: 'I wish to make my parents proud!'
In class 
 What sound does a monkey make?

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