Looking for a Better World
Teaching World Geography to Kids
At the school where they are given evening classes, I find myself in front of a bunch of kids. They stare at me and I stare at them. Beautiful smiling faces. Mischievous eyes, a lot of energy to run and play and giggle. So much excitement in the air. So much joy. They are curious to know me and curious to know what’s in the bags Rajani carries. Some clothes for them.
But Rajani, who translates, and wants to finish the session by distributing the clothes, tells me: “Explain where you are from.” And so here I am, on the old blackboard. I take the chalk and draw a triangle, pointing down. I turn around, amused, and I say: “What is that?”
The little ones, in one voice, shout “V”. Oops! So much for my artistic talent. I had tried to draw a map of India and they spot a letter of the alphabet.
Then I improve my triangle and, equally clumsily, I add the Arabian Peninsula, Africa, Europe. I mark a cross for Paris and then I put lots of dots to symbolise the flight to Kerala. They seem so interested by my explanations. A child raises his hand: “Is a plane like a jeep?”
Spontaneously I hear myself reply, “Yes, except that more people fit in.” The child looks very satisfied by that answer.
Well, end of the geography lesson: now it’s time to open the bags!