Wanni in Miami, USA – At Miami Country Day School

With MCDS kids

On our way to with Yvonne. But I don’t see anything related to much awaited recounting in Florida. I’m relieved. Everything seems calm and quiet. No violence. No bloodshed. No killing. How beautiful it would be if we can have elections without violence in my country.

Meeting Yvonne and Ms. Margaret Mahoney again is exciting. I never feel lonely whenever I tour abroad now. Someone from I*EARN appears and I am in the best company.

Lucky American Kids

Miami Country Day School is a private school. I was lucky to be here. It’s a wonderful school with healthy, sweet kids. If I can see my students in Sri Lanka enjoying the comforts these kids enjoy……….. But it’s only a dream… Each teacher has a computer in the classroom. Students have free access to the Internet. Uninterrupted high-speed Internet connections. In Sri Lanka my students have to use very old 386 or 486 PCs which only “look like” computers. They have never experienced surfing the web though they have a website on the Net.

Talkative American Kids

The students are free to wear uniforms of two choices. Red or white. The children here are so talkative. They ask numerous questions when I go to their classes. They seem free to sit as they like on their chairs. Sri Lankan students are so shy and reserved, It’s very difficult to get them talk. I think this is due to forcing them to respect the teachers more than really needed. Children are scared of teachers. I have changed this to a certain extent. My kids enjoy more freedom at my little school, The Horizon than they have in public schools.

Forks VS Fingers

The cafeteria is a huge place and clean, nutritious food is served here. Some students take turns to clean the cafeteria after the luncheon interval. That seems a good practice. It’s good to be done by the students themselves rather than appointing a paid laborer for it. I remember how my kids eat under the trees on the logs. The chief of the kitchen staff was a generous man to donate me a heap of forks and knives to take to my kids, as they have never used forks and knives. They use fingers to eat. Ms. Moyer warns me not to harm their cultural values by introducing forks. (Who did ever say that the Americans want to inculcate American culture everywhere by force??????) I clarify her this is only to teach how to use them. After learning they’ll use their fingers to eat again.

“You should never marry an ugly blue guy.”

I am so lucky to go to different classes each day to see the way teachers take their lessons. Most interesting are the sessions with Yvonne’s small kids. They are so active and throw me hundreds of questions when I describe them the paintings I had taken here. After seeing a painting, which depicted Kalagola Dikthala story, Yvonne asks the kids, what the moral behind the story is. One little cutie tells, “You should never marry an ugly blue guy.” I cannot hold up my laughter. How talkative the kids are. I wish my kids also became little more talkative so that I find teaching them English easier.

Though little talkative, MCDS kids are so decent in their behavior. This is something strange. Where are those vulnerable American kids we see in the movies?

Little Santiago of Margaret’s class is a young budding painter who has a lot of talent. His caricatures and cartoons look professional. And like me, he too is a Tin Tin fan. I suggest him to start a web site for his cartoons. If I were the Webmaster of MCDS, I would have definitely used Little Santiago’s graphics to decorate the MCDS website.

How interactive are the classes I observe with the senior students, about American Constitution, religions, journalism, etc.? The children come well prepared for the classes so that the classes become interesting. Unfortunately the media has given us a very negative picture about the American children and education in America so that many people in our part of the world think majority of the American children are aggressive and violent.

The Head Master

The Head Master Dr. John Davies is a gift to the school. He seems very popular among both teachers and students. When I wanted to get an interview recorded with him he was so cooperative to find time for it rather than pretending to be busy. If I ever knew that he is in love with masks I could have taken him a beautiful mask of a Sri Lankan devil. He dropped me home after the interview.

The Snake Lab

Environment laboratory is one place I never want to go again because of the snakes there. The teacher Rowena is an interesting teacher but not the snakes. Eek!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hate snakes whether they are harmless or venomous. I can’t stand snakes and dogs.

MCDS Kids in Concert

The musical concert I saw at the first day was a beautiful one but I couldn’t get a recorded video of it. If I could, it would have been the most valuable gift for my kids as they never get dancing or music teachers. They could have learnt American kids’ beautiful dances from the video.

Difference of Cultures

I see boys and girls exchanging an affectionate hug in the school is not counted as an offence here. But if this happened in Sri Lanka, they’d have been thrown out of the school. What is good and what is bad depends on culture. It’s relative.

Miss Samar

What surprises me most is why I am getting so much attention from the kids even than my pretty Lebanese companion Miss Samar is getting. Wherever I walk in the MCDS, some kids will shout, “Mr. Wanni, Sri Lanka.” I think Ms. Margaret and Yvonne must have given me a good publicity even before my arrival here. Miss Samar says, ” Oh Wanni, you are so popular here. How come?” in Arabic English. I feel proud of myself.

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