Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kindy Conversations

As I may (or may not) have mentioned, my school also includes a Kindy. This is the Tongan equivalent of an American preschool, so the kids are about 4 years old. I only work with them for about 15 minutes twice a week, and that working usually includes playing or just chilling and talking to the kindy teacher about school (or various other things). I don't feel terribly bad about this because a.) my Tongan is really not good enough to communicate with 4 year old Tongan children- it's hard enough to understand kids of that age when you speak the same language, much less when they speak a language you're relatively terrible at and b.) chatting/gossiping is an integral part of building relationships with people in Tonga so it's kind of like integrating into my community, which has clearly worked because I'm closer with the kindy teacher than the other teachers.

Despite the limited amount of time I spend with the kindy, some pretty entertaining conversations pop up, as they always do with young kids. I'll tell you just a few. Keep in mind that these conversations also took place in somewhat butchered Tongan.

Kindy Conversation 1: Soane
(Soane is a little 4 year old boy who is in some way connected to my principal and his family. He's also quite bold. Also, important background: sharing food is a HUGE part of Tongan culture and it's both expected to do it as well as rude not to. So when the kindy kids bring snack they always share with each other, no questions asked and no fits thrown.)

Earlier that day a student in Class 4 had given me a lollipop. I decided to eat it during recess time, while I was sitting on a bench outside the school. Enter Soane.

Soane: Katalina, what are you eating?
Me: A lolli.
Soane: A lolli from where?
Me: From Kavakava. He gave it to me.
Soane: More lollis?
Me: No, I only have one.
Soane: From where?
Me: Kavakava. He gave it to me as a gift.
Soane: More lollis?
Me: No, Soane. I only have one.
Soane: From where?
Me: Kavakava. He gave it to me. It's mine.
Soane: Oh. (pause) From where?
Me: From Kavakava. It was a gift.

This conversation went on in the same vain for about 5 minutes until I, exasperated but incredibly entertained, took the lollipop out of my mouth and handed it to Soane (I realize that might sound weird to you all in the US but trust me it's not here). He immediately stuck it in his mouth, went away, and I could here him talking to his friends going "Look, I got a lolli from Katalina."

Kindy Conversation 2: Lesa
(Lesa is a tiny four year old girl in the kindy class. She's one of my favourite students- she is super adorable and really lovey, she always gives me hugs and kisses and she has a really cute giggle. Background: the kindy recently acquired some toys from a kind donor and this happened on the first day they got to play with their new (and only) toys.)

Lesa decided to play with a cloth doll that was probably about the same size as her.

Me: Oh, Lesa! Who is that?
Lesa: My baby.
Me: Oh, so beautiful! What is your baby's name?
Lesa: blank stare, as if I'm stupid
Me: What is your baby's name?
Lesa: ...Baby (complete with a "well, duh" look).
Me: Oh. Okay. Well... she's beautiful!

More Kindy Conversations to come.


No comments:

Post a Comment