Last night Sr. Wantabee was teaching ESL. She had been teaching a unit on food and nutrition to a group of level 2, fairly low level speakers and it was just hard going. The unit is just soooo American. The food pyramid would not work where she came from in Africa where people lived on meat, milk and blood and had never seen a vegetable or fruit. Reading a recipe rather than watch your mom and how she proportioned ingredients seemed strange also. then in the middle of the recipe lesson, the students asked, “What’s that?” A fraction. They had never seen or understood fractions much less 1/2 teaspoon.
Sr. Wantabee decided a hands on recipe was needed and decided to try “microwave tacos”. When she pulled the onion out of her basket, their eyes lit up and they recognized it immediately. They quickly learned “to grate” the cheese. No problem “slicing the watermelon” for desert or “chopping the tomato.” We crowded around a table and ate a bite together. The lesson was a success. But what touched Sr. Wantabee was the comradery and all the young women joining in and helping just as it would have been in Africa. they may have enjoyed the lesson but she enjoyed the memory of a joy gone by.

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