(from Araceli Pacheco)
There’s a folding divider that separates the playroom from the space where members of the staff eat lunch. When you eat lunch, you can often hear what the children are saying on the other side of the divider.
One day, I was eating lunch and overheard a conversation. One child spoke in Spanish. “Hablas Español?” The other child spoke in English, “Huh? What’d you say?”
With this inability to speak, I expected their relationship would come to an abrupt end. Boy, was I wrong. Instead of seeing their different languages as a divider, an obstacle, the children treated it as a game. Soon they were laughing together, playing and sharing toys.
An Iraqi man’s girl had to visit the clinic very often just as she was learning how to speak. One day, the Iraqi man told us that his daughter had said her first words. To him, the words were gibberish – totally unintelligible. He laughed when he told us that he suspected that she was speaking Spanish!
These children are my teachers. They teach me how we can see each other and share with each other even though we come from different cultures and speak different languages.