Friday, June 18, 2010

A Rooftop Classroom

Teaching English is more difficult than it seems. We had the opportunity today to go to an Christian school in a poorer part of Cairo to teach some of the kids English and play with them. I couldn't have left in a better mood. Besides being absolutely adorable, the children helped us with our Arabic, taught us some new games and better yet kept us smiling the entire time. They were so excited to interact with us. We played with kids from 5 years old all the way to probably 14 years old.
With so much interest they asked us our names, where we came from and if we could speak Arabic. Of course the littlest ones only knew the alphabet and numbers in English but they were so proud of their knowledge and sang the alphabet song with gusto and smiles. Many of the students also spoke a little French and tried so hard to communicate with us. I was truly surprised that I understood what they were saying to me in Arabic. Kids are very difficult to understand because they only speak street Arabic, don't have clear pronunciation and generally speak very quickly. I was thrilled that there was mutual comprehension. Communicating their names, ages and directions of games we wanted to play made me more confident in my Arabic.
We played red light green light, sang some songs, ran around, twirled the little girls in circles and held hands while having them show us their school. When it was time to leave the girls were all sad, hanging on to my legs and asking when we were coming back. I promised I would see them next week. The nun in charge of the school had all the children line up and sing a song thanking us for coming. They shouted goodbyes and kisses out the windows as we descended the stairs to head back to our hotel. We were exhausted and all passed out on the way back to the hotel. We actually had our driver drop us off in Tahrir Square so we could grab a quick dinner from a restaurant called Filfila. A popular choice among Cairenes there are all the popular Egyptian fast food dishes like koshary, shwerma, and fuul. After indulging in some food we headed back to the hotel and passed out.

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