For this lesson, I was prepared for misunderstanding. I made a list of questions the students would likely pose. I had clear and simple answers ready for those questions. And, I highlighted vocabulary which I knew would be unfamiliar. I laid out these unfamiliar terms like a roadmap of traffic patterns. We established the known before broaching the unknown. The itinerary was a good one, and the route was manageable.
Until Donald Trump hijacked the car.
Just over a year ago, I was asked to visit a kindergarten classroom on the Northwest side of Chicago. The purpose of my visit was to join the class and to pay extra attention to two twin sisters from Burundi. The girls were a source of constant stress for their compassionate teacher, Miss Chavez, who suspected that they were utterly lost during instruction. She reached out to the community center where I worked, who sent out a call for anyone who could talk to the twins in Swahili or Rundi–the languages spoken by their family at home–and assess how much they understood.
My agreement with two Tanzanian friends to help them sell their art in America has taught me all that the business course I never took in college might have. I have learned the basics like timing and advertising. I also learned that Ebay is efficient, and Etsy is not. I have learned that face-to-face business transactions are always better. And, now thanks to some connections in Chicago, I have learned about a piece of history.
Today was my last day of teaching, as well as Salma’s 64th birthday. We celebrated with curry, pakora, homemade yogurt, and cake. I also want to share that yesterday Salma told me that sometimes she goes to the park after midnight to swing on the swing set. I very much hope this wasn’t something lost in translation, and she really does. What a fantastic human. ! عيد ميلادها سعيد