A pretty name; “Laura Flowers” for a place that you could never describe as pretty. It is hard to put into words what Laura Flores is like. It is built on a rubbish dump. The houses do not have access to running water. People have tin roofs, bare concrete walls and not much else. Today I went there to work with some 4 year olds. Today was quite a struggle. I went feeling tired and a bit emotional. Laura Flores is physically, spiritually and emotionally challenging. I was mid-session working on colours with about 6 kids (and some 7-9 year olds who seem to want to join in too) I had 4 coloured pieces of card on the table, which I was holding down with my elbows and with my hands, trying to stop the children from hitting each other and grabbing the card.
“Rojo” (red) I said to one child, expecting them to find the colour, to which they found green. With tears in my eyes, I paused and wondered if I had not explained this well, whether the child just didn’t know the colours or if I should just give up and go home! Wiping my eyes, pausing to smile at the child, I realised we had done enough for the day. We got through the session and even though I didn’t feel I did a good job, I think they had fun.
On reflection, these children aren’t going to learn their colours from sitting working at the table. They need to be outside, exploring and learning the names of different colours, through experience. I would love to take them to the park, look at the green grass, the orange flowers, see the colours of the birds and ducks and talk about it. These children haven’t had these experiences or will have the opportunity. They live in a small community, which only has houses with metal roofs, grey concrete walls and dirt track roads. How am I supposed to teach them colours when their home, town and experiences seem to be colourless?