Donnerstag, 12. März 2009

FIUTS Pen Pals

Yesterday, I finally got to meet my little pen pal Bethany.

Bethany and I had been writing letters and Emails back and forth as part of the FIUTS Outreach program with the White Center Elementary School. Most of the children are considered materially or socially less fortunate and have a slim chance of going to college. By meeting somebody at a university (and from a foreign country even), they get introduced to this form of higher education, which might help them to lose at least some of the unknown big world of ACADEMIA.

Wednesday lunch is a great opportunity to come together, so we met the kids there to have peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches.

As I knew from the letters, my little "midgit" is a little shy and not very talkative. When she saw me first, she blushed and turned away. Since I knew she would be hard to crack, I had brought her a camera in order to engage her in an activity and possibly some conversation.

We did manage to talk about her last holiday, locate Long Beach on a map and took a couple of pictures together. Like me she prefers to be behind the camera rather than in front of it.

Rica from Japan had similar difficulties with her little pen pal Zainab, who happened to be Bethany's best friend. We joined froces and learned to write our names in Japanese and Arabic (Zainab's mother tongue).

For Shaun from Australia and his little pal, the connection came a little more natural, it seems ;-)

However, when Bethany got to show off her new name sign (in three languages and with little drawings on it) to her friend Mariah, she bloomed. Mariah teaches Bethany some Spanish and so I learned how to say "can we go out to play" in Spanish: "Podemos ir jugar afuera?"

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