On the first day of service, I was very nervous. Would I be able to understand? Would they like me?
Julia and I were working with a class of children who were 7-11 years old. At first they were nervous, but quickly worked up the courage to talk to us. We each worked with a younger student, helping them count. But throughout the session, others would come up to us and display their work. One of the older girls, Léa, gave me one of her drawings of a flower. In the afternoon, we checked some more math and made Easter cards.
The next day was more eventful. We were with a younger class, 4-6 years old. The first thing I heard when I walked in the classroom was, “C’est un chinois!” ( It’s a Chinese person!). We again helped with counting, using euros. I helped a little girl named Auriane.
During recess there was a snack time and the children were very generous sharing their snacks with me. Somehow I got pulled into a game of tag with about 30 little kids. It ended up being a game of me versus them, and so for the next 30 minutes I spent my time avoiding large puddles and little kids at a full sprint. This was the most exercise I got during break so far. During the afternoon, we helped students identify pictures, which probably helped us more than them.
After participating in songs about the weather and body parts, we went out to recess #2. Again, I worked up quite a sweat running away from little kids. Then it was time to go. This part of Tuesday was heartbreaking and heartwarming. We received countless hugs. I remember one girl especially well. She was younger and would not let go of my hand. Finally, after many hugs, she kissed me on the cheek and we left.