Will, a volunteer serving in Poland, talks about one of his last days teaching English to Polish children, another chapter of global understanding.
Today was another chapter of global understanding chock full of activity. We began the morning as we always do with a wonderful breakfast. This one consisted of crepes with a fruit jam in the middle.
Soon after, we split off into our groups to continue our teaching. I started by working with animals, having my students describe bees, act like monkeys and roar like lions. After that, we continued our study of opposites, a subject which many of us have been focusing on. While Jeff and Melanie used flash cards, I had my students come up with the opposite of the words I provided. Luckily, my class is an incredibly talented group, and although challenged, did not face too much trouble in arriving at answers. Afterward, we played Apples to Apples and practiced pronunciation. To finish off, we played some tag together.
For the fourth hour of teaching, we reconvened to teach different songs. Among the songs taught were “One Way or Another, ” “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider, ” “Hickory- Dickory Dock, ” and “I’m a Little Teapot”. The children seemed to have a blast when one of the Polish English teachers taught them how to peel bananas and go bananas during his song selection.
For obiad, we had vegetable soup followed by an entrée of a meatball, potatoes and mushrooms.
While some of us went off to take naps to recuperate from the busy day, others prepared for the next day’s classes, the children were busy rehearsing for the talent show and learning songs and dances for the final evening performances. It is disconcerting to see that, considering how short of a time it feels we have been here!
I was invited by one of the interpreters of the camp, Monika, to explore Siedlce with her and her friend. Reminded of how interesting everything was that we saw yesterday, I was eager to go back and learn more. We took a train over to Siedlce and first visited an antique shop. After searching through the various knick-knacks, I was not sure what I could get that would be a good representation of Poland, something that was not part of the everyday souvenirs. Remembering how 90% of Poland is Catholic, and how many rooms in Reymontówka, and even in the government buildings, had crucifixes on the walls, I decided it would be a perfect thing to bring back with me. Afterwards, we explored more of the city, ate Polish doughnuts, saw an elementary school, passed deteriorating houses, and visited Monika’s house, meeting her family and eating a few raspberries and strawberries from her garden.
I returned just in time for the evening meal, which was leczo. Although full after the evening meal, a few of us snatched some pears for a midnight snack. Then we went to the talent show to see the various skills and abilities our students have. There was magic, drawing, piano playing, acting, singing, dancing, and there was even a girl who showed how fast she could speak Polish –as if it wasn’t a confusing language already! As the talent show drew to a close, so did the day. Although invigorated by the enthusiasm of the students, once the adrenaline rush drops, we must recede back to our rooms, reflect on the day, and evaluate how we will continue to fulfill the goals we set out for on this exotic voyage. Today was another chapter of global understanding.
Message of the day: The way “we” do things is only one way to do things. Attributed to Ann O’Fallon, former Refugee Program Coordinator for the Minnesota Department of Health and shared by Lori