At my volunteer working place (Dutch: ‘Moeder-taal’; English: ‘Mother Language’), I’ve experienced a surprise celebration for the teacher who was 30 years together with her husband on Monday (10th of February) and the next day was the day she got married. As it was a special day for her, her students decided to throw a surprise party in class which has left her speechless.
First of all before I go further I want to explain a little about the work I do as a volunteer. The school where I work for is called ‘Moeder-taal’. It’s a project where they offer Dutch lessons for non-Dutch-speaking young mothers who have young children in their care (-3 years) who cannot participate in regular Dutch lessons. It’s for this reason that mothers follow lessons with their children. Within the same building where lessons take place, there are two classes that are taught seperately, while volunteers take care of babysitting.
The lessons are taught every Monday and Tuesday. I volunteer every Monday from 9:30am to 12:30pm.
So back to it.. on that day there were no lessons but instead the teacher took the chance to practice speaking in Dutch about the food each of them made, so they explained the recipe and how they celebrate their weddings in their country of origin. While I was taking care of the young children, I was also listening to their stories. It was very exciting to hear what they had to share.
It’s a unique way of sharing their traditions at moments of celebration and how we can learn from each other’s cultures. I observed their behaviour when they were telling their stories, I felt their excitement when they were giving a dancing and singing performance. Some of them from other countries participated to show respect. Even the ones who had been listening attentively, really showed curiousity by asking multiple questions. They had all the time and space to explain in Dutch without being interrupted.
At the end I was able to taste all the different types of food and complimented them for their effort and taste. To me this was a short and very tasty representation of diversity…