Friday, July 24, 2009

Welcome to Thailand

Went back to the refugee children program yesterday. This time we highlighted the glorious country of Thailand. So last time I went, we had about 60-70% children from Thailand. This time....I had like 20% from Thailand. They spoke Burmese instead of Thai though. The turn over rate here is quite high (families are moving often from complex to complex plus school is out so many more kids were present). The project we did was creating a Thai fruit salad together using fruits from Thailand. Mixed exotic fruits covered in coconut milk and raw sugar....awwww yeah. What kid wouldn't like that?! Try 4 kids. The first group was great since 2 of them were from Thailand. We went over how to say the fruit names in English and in Burmese. They helped me cut the fruit with plastic knives as I tried my best to convey facts about the country. Too bad words like "million," "ocean" and "weather" haven't been introduced to their vocab just yet. So basically it was multi tasking at its best with me using a very animated face, talking with that ever-so-unique accent I use with non- American English speaking people (read previous post), and cutting fruit with a knife. I felt like Giada. ....OK I felt like a version of Giada who cooks for children and basically saying things that no one really understands :). You won't believe how hard I wanted to say (in my Itialian accent) "prosciutto" or "mozerrella" during this time. Anyways, the first group of kids were really attentive as we kept practicing the words in English and in Burmese. They seemed reallye excited to learn their new fruit vocab! At the end, we finished with smiling faces and happy tummies. Next, group 2. Now this group had one very rowdy kid who spoke great English and the others who were really really shy or not comfortable with speaking just yet. None were from Thailand so there was some difficulty in gaining interest here. We proceeded to "cook" though it was less interactive. At the end, 4 kids dumped their fruit bowls in the trash with one exclaiming "this is not good!" Failure. Argh. But its ok, I think at the end, it will just take some time and persistence in figuring out (at least with this group) how to engage them a bit more. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to talk to the kids in much detail but I will be back this coming week. In any case, these kiddos are lovely - so full of life, so thirsty for knowledge.