Last week, I asked my level three students to write about their families. As they read aloud what they had written, I was struck by what diverse international lives my students live. While we are all familiar with globalization of the world in terms of markets, politics, and pollution, we seldom reflect on global families. These families are spread throughout different nations and across cultural divides.
For example, a student from Cameroon revealed that he is the son of his father’s fourth wife. However, some of his brothers and sisters are in Cameroon, and his parents remained in Cameroon until their death. His family lives in more than one country. When the same student was asked about his goals, he replied that he wanted to be better integrated in American society. He plans to achieve this goal, in part, by getting married. If he stays in the United States, his marital path will be different from that of his father’s. His children, too, may have a different concept of grandparents than children with parents and grandparents raised in the United States.
Another student from the same class was born in Afghanistan. She has two brothers living in Germany and a sister who lives with her in the United States. Her sister is married and has a son. Her family is represented in at least two countries (she does not indicate whether any family members remain in Afghanistan) and is potentially influenced by three cultural ideas of family. Two other students have children and sisters who live Ethiopia.
All of the students who completed the writing assignment had family members who live in other countries. Although only about half the class did the homework, I am sure that many of the students we serve have global families. I often think about how differently people in other countries live; however, in my mind, these people are strangers. For many of my students, these people are family.
-Kerrin Epstein, Lead Teacher and AmeriCorps Volunteer
Title: LCNV Calendar: November 2010
Welcome to November - a time for Thanksgiving, turkey (or tofurkey), and tutor trainings! Here’s the information about the next set of Basic Literacy workshops:
What: Basic Literacy tutor workshops
When (updated 11/09/10): Saturdays, Nov. 20th, Dec. 4th and Dec. 11th, 9:30 am-1:30 pm
Where: James Lee Community Center, 2855 Annandale Road, Falls Church, VA 22042
Who: All interested volunteers over 18, who can commit to at least 9 months of weekly tutoring
Why: Adult learners are waiting to be matched with a volunteer tutor, so that they can improve their reading and writing skills.
How: E-mail Belle at email@example.com or call 703-237-0866 x111.
Thank you for all that you do!
-Belle Peñaranda, Director of Volunteers