Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Write in the HUMOR genre (04/12/07)
- TITLE: Foreigners came to our school today (based on a true story)
By Suzanne R
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I met them at Easter. Easter is a holiday the foreigners celebrate, although they try to tell us that it isn’t a foreign holiday. Whatever. I went to their Easter activity to practice my English. They take normal eggs and colour them. Sort of weird if you ask me. But I guess it isn’t any weirder than the way we sometimes inject eggs with dye so the new little chicks are brightly coloured when they hatch. They have sickly sweet chocolate at Easter and bread with crosses too, to remember a dead god who came back to life. How quaint. Anyhow, I teach English at a little country school. Meeting a real live foreigner will motivate the kids no end. I invited them to visit.
I didn’t want the children to be frightened so I prepared them well. These foreigners, I told them, are people just like us, but different too. Their skin is the colour of a grubby whitewashed wall with splattered speckles. Their eyes are blue, but not as blue as the sky. More like the blue-grey exhaust coming from a run-down tractor. Their hair isn’t yellow like the books say, but closer to the colour of a muddy river. They’re nice people. They aren’t mentally strong like us – they need a God to believe in. Maybe they’ll try and tell you about Him, I told the kids. Just listen politely, I said.
The day finally came. I took the bus with the foreign friends. Anytime anything came near the bus, be it vehicle, animal or person, the foreigners would gasp and brace themselves for an accident. I guess the roads must be empty in their country. When we finally got off the bus, they took out their cameras and started snapping pictures of oxen and carts and stuff. Strange.
Weird they might be, but they did great with the kids, despite their reservations. When I explained that they’d have 40 minutes each with a class of kids, their brows crinkled up like a freshly ploughed field. They’d tried to pin me down last week about the classes, but I’d told them not to prepare anything. I said that just coming was enough. I mean, why explain ahead of time what could happen? Who knows what will happen each day? They write every possibility about life in a little book called a diary, even though anything might come up in the meantime. Weird plus.
After class and a school photo, we made a quick bathroom visit … only it turned out to be quite an ordeal. Four low cement platforms there are in the facilities, and it is always a lovely relaxed time to spend with friends. So one of the foreign women and I went there, and a couple of kids tagged along too. The kids and I pulled down our trousers and squatted but the foreign lady just stood there with her mouth open and blue-exhaust-coloured eyes as round as tea cups. Finally she closed her mouth and walked outside. When I’d finished, she explained that she needed a little privacy before she could go. So I stood guard while she went all alone. Poor lonely lady.
Lunch was great. All the teachers came and the children of the staff members. We filled a couple of tables at the local noodle and dumpling restaurant. They held their chopsticks okay, but the chopsticks didn’t hold anything else. They would pull things up and then drop them. The slippery glass noodles formed a silver road from the serving bowls to their places, with dropped peanuts resembling boulders along the way. Dropped pieces of vegetables looked like vegetation by the side of the silver road. I told the kids to help, picking up morsels of food with their own chopsticks and putting them in front of the foreigners, but such respectful courtesy didn’t seem to be a big hit.
After a really good morning together, I put the foreigners on a bus back to town. I insisted on asking the driver to boot them off at their stop, despite their protests that they knew where they were going.
I heard them comment to one another as they boarded, ‘Well, that was a lovely gospel opportunity.’ Gospel? What is that? Anyhow, it certainly was lovely. And just maybe I’ll go to church next week. I’d like to know them better and just might find out more about what makes them tick.
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