Megan P. in Dana Aoyama’s Philadelphia cluster, had the opportunity to present to St Mary’s Nursery School in West Philadelphia on South Africa. Below is a wonderful write-up of her experience.

“On a very windy Wednesday in January, I rushed to the bus stop to collect my host kid, Dylan. We dashed back to the house to grab a banana for Dylan to snack on in the car and fetch two rather large pans of milk tart, the largest handbag I had in my wardrobe crammed with all sorts of aides and four poster boards shamelessly promoting my home country of South Africa. “I’m nervous Meggy,” Dylan nervously whispered to me while we were piling into the car. She was nervous because we were returning to her old nursery school, St Mary’s, so that I could present to the after school group about my home country. I assured her that the teachers would be delighted to see her and most likely missed her terribly. She smiled, and we blissfully cruised along Spruce Street while singing along to our all-time favourite carpool karaoke song, ‘Party in the USA’.

I had a wonderful time presenting at St Mary’s. The staff and kids were warm, engaging and genuinely interested in squeezing every last drop of information out of me about exciting South Africa – especially when it came to our diverse and ferocious arsenal of wildlife. After my presentation, and a very extensive Q&A session where the kids grilled me on everything from whether God was also in South Africa, if I spoke any ‘Africanese’ languages, and the names of my three dogs back home, I invited the 21 kids in attendance to share in some of my favourite Winter treats from back home – milk tart and Rooibos tea. I was very pleased that they were clamouring for seconds – my baking skills had clearly done South Africa proud!

Apart from what was simply a wonderful forty minutes engaging with a group of (very) smart kids, this experience only affirmed what I have come to learn about American children in my time here in Philadelphia – they are both as fun-loving and warm and as they are curious about people from different walks of life. Their willingness to learn about my country and incorporate nuggets of my culture into their own only renews my faith in the coming generation and their ability to choose love over fear.”