“Who’s ready to travel with us today?” we ask the kids at the soup kitchen each Monday and Wednesday before lunch. When we started this Traveling the World book project, that question was met with straight faces and serious questions like, “But when will we get back?” Now the idea of traveling through books and our imaginations has become familiar and is all part of the routine of this new project.
It’s not an original idea of ours. Peace Corps volunteers like Nalena and others have successfully completed similar projects. Although we’re just a few weeks in, it’s turning into a fun, positive project for us as well. At least after a couple of the rowdier kids manage to get themselves escorted from the project room. (Just keeping it real.) But let’s not dwell on those details!
The basic idea is that we gather a group of kids who want to travel with us and use our imaginations to fly to a brand new country. We have a great time finding the country on the map and marveling at how far away it is from Paraguay. Of course, before we can travel we need to know how to greet someone in the new country so we learn how to say “hello” in the country’s official language. That’d be “alluu” if you’re heading to Greenland like we did on Monday.
Once we’ve got our greeting set and ready we dive into a book about the featured country. Sometimes the books are directly about the culture, but often we notice more subtle things through a story that happens to take place or have a connection to our travel-destination.
Even though we learned our lesson about needing two stamps when traveling to another country (one to exit and one to enter), we choose to keep it simple where all our world travelers earn a stamp in their Comedor Comunitario official passport in the form of a hand-drawn (by them) representation of the visiting country’s flag.
Although it’s not always as smooth-sailing (or flying) as this blog post makes it sound, it has been a great experience so far and I can tell at least a good handful of kids are loving the project. I was even greeted today with a “hello” (in English) and then an “alluu” so it looks like I’m not the only one soaking up a few of the fun facts of world travel.