Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Kids...... I like.

So I failed to mention in my previous post WHAT I am doing with the refugee kids.....trying to do. Essentially the few times I've been, I noticed that most of these kids are still struggling to fully grasp the English language and American culture much less the 7-8 other different cultures represented in that tiny classroom. I thought it would be really neat if they started sharing with each other about their own cultures. I mean they are in a cultural jackpot, if you will. I'm sure they all have amazing stories to share. Hence, I want to initiate a regular 'program' where we would highlight one country where some of these kids are from. The first one we did was Malaysia. I had traveled there before so I brought some pics and props from my travel. I tried to make it as fun as possible.... I think it was received ok but I can't really tell. I just know at the end of the class one of the girls came up to me and shared with me her treasured family photos from Malaysia. This moment was.. well priceless. These pics may have been the only pics she had of her home and some family members (her immediate family fled here with her). I asked her why she came here. She began to tell me about how her father worked for the police, something politically bad happened (possibly a shift in power or something) and her father and family were in danger so they had to flee. Now, please excuse the completely terrible retelling of her story but this was done in broken English between us (for those of you who don't know me, I tend to....'adapt' to my environments. In that I mean, if someone speaks a certain way, I try to speak the same way too, thinking that I sound just like them and it makes them feel more comfortable. However, Haley and Jamila will be the first to tell you....I can't sound Irish, Kenyan, British or Aussie no matter how hard I try. In fact, I sound like a confused idiot). Anyways, point being that in this little run down apartment complex in Chinatown, Houston, TX held a completely different world where a group of kids from all over the world have these stories that need be shared and heard. Even if thats among themselves, its powerful. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to go back yet but I plan to highlight Thailand next (where the majority of the kids are from). If you're in Houston and interested in joining.... lemme know!


Jennifer said...

im interested in the fall... love you, miss you

Victor said...

I'm curious. What year did her parents flee Malaysia? I'm trying to place it historically to see what was going on? What was going on? Or was it, rather, a personal issue with the government?

Elisa Chen said...

I'm not sure exactly since the conversation... was very difficult. Language barrier was pretty big here. I too was wondering since I was in Malaysia about 2 years ago and didn't hear about any turmoil. I am going to guess it was a one-off situation?