I had spent hours at the hospital during my cancer treatments earlier in the year tearing pictures out of magazines to illustrate my lessons. Now I spread out the glamorous cities of the world before them: New York, Paris, London, Madrid, Cairo, Buenos Aires and Minneapolis and Addis Ababa! Each girl chose one picture and then located that city on the map I'd brought. Finding their chosen country and city was not easy. I wondered if they could envision this gigantic world with all its mystery and majesty when most had never left Nekemt and those who had only went the 30 kilometers to Siree, where they had been born.
I underestimated their imagination and curiosity, however. We were soon visiting the four corners of the world using the pictures of airplanes and trains and buses and even a horse to get to each destination. Even more fun was choosing pictures of what they would take on their trip. They all loved the shoes with the highest heels or, better yet, boots, and the chic fashion skirts. Pictures of underwear brought laughter and blushes while cell phones, cameras and MP3 players were snatched up quickly. Watches held little appeal and Beth had to explain why they needed money as she handed out pictures of dollars and silver.
These young girls know the value of money. Every month they eagerly await their stipend from REAL and, after saving a portion in their bank account for their future, they hurry home to help feed their family as well as pay school fees and buy exercise books. But they didn't realize how necessary money is for travel. For the few who had left Nekemt, it was only to visit family members who housed and fed them. Hotels, taxis, restaurants were not things they had used.
We barely finished talking about our trips when it was time for them to leave. Most had a ways to walk and wanted to get home before the rain began.
Kathleen Moore, REAL teacher