There have been a few moments here at school. This is one have to share…
Last Friday, during class, I was answering some general questions about Ireland. And suddenly the bell rang. The kids got excited, because their lunch was waiting, but still they had so many questions for me. So, as they were running around, they all started firing 20 questions at me: are there lions in Ireland? Do you have elephants? Where are the tigers? How many coconut trees are there? Do you all eat your own bananas? It was the funniest thing, when I managed to quieten everybody down with as loud a voice as possible, I shouted: “there are no lions, tigers, bears, coconuts or banana trees in Ireland!” They didn’t stay quiet for very long. So shocked they were, especially when I stressed the fact that THERE ARE NO ELEPHANTS OR COCONUTS IN IRELAND… Then the chubbiest little 10 year old of the class stood up in disbelief, raising his hands and shouted above the noise and excitement: “Do you even have any FORESTS?????????????? It was hilarious. Nobody could fathom how there could be forests in Ireland, if the contents was missing!!!! But, it was the contents of Indian forests that was missing in Ireland. These little kids of course presumed forests too would be missing. They found it all very confusing. But I thought it was the funniest thing.
What I was thinking of afterwards, was that if I were to tell the kids in Ireland about the contents of Indian forests, they’d probably react in the exact same way. This just made me realize how alien it can sound to either the kids Ireland or the kids here; the fact that there’s a place on earth that differs so much for what children consider to be the normal world. And, once upon a time, I too was one of them.
Then I thought, it must be quite strange for the kids to now have a teacher, who is from such a place… without any elephants or coconuts!!! It would probably not only let them think of Ireland as being an alien place, but also it’s people – of which they class me as being one. Man, how I love the innocence in children.