I’m not the type of person to blog twice in one week…but I had to get this down while it was still fresh.
Today, on my way to teach my 5th hour class, I approached a group of first grade boys that I see all of the time. I used to think they were being friendly, until I noticed how Moldovan’s would chastise them when they said things to me.
So today as I approached them, I waved as always, until I noticed that one of the boys (the ring leader) maneuvered behind me. I turned around to see what he was doing, only to see him run up and kick me!
He kicked me. I was kicked by a FIRST grader…And all of his little tiny first grade friends laughed.
Side note: I want to encourage you to take a moment and laugh. Why? Because if I were reading this blog about someone else, I would laugh HYSTERICALLY and make jokes about it! So, in all fairness…Feel free to laugh.
Now, after being kicked I was literally stunned. It took me forever to process what just happened to me. And then I was stuck with the question of…What do I do? He’s a little kid. I couldn’t pick him up and beat his ass the way I really wanted too. Moldovans watch every move I make, and if I were to make the wrong decision it would undermine my influence within the community. Given that I am a Health Education Volunteer, I am supposed to set the example in situations like this. Luckily, before I reacted, a Moldovan woman who works at the magazine (corner store) saw what happened and came outside shaking her fist and yelling at the boys. They immediately took off running.
“Do you know their names?” I asked her.
“No, but they go to the Primary School,” She said shaking her head. “They are bad boys.”
I nodded, feeling the tears well up in my eyes. I continued to walk to school trying to tell myself to pull it together and that it wasn’t a big deal. But seriously, I couldn’t. It was a big blow to my ego, a huge insult, a slap in the face, or…. a kick in the leg. hahahahaha.
When I reached the school, it wasn’t long before my partner found me in the room with tears streaming down my face. She demanded I tell her what happened. When I did, her eyes widened in horror. “What are you going to do?!” she asked.
Before I could answer, another teacher came into the room. She saw my tear stricken face and grew concerned. “Why is she crying,” she asked my partner. Soon another teacher entered, but she was kind enough not to ask any questions. And then, Dan enters the room.
For those that don’t know, Dan is my site mate from MINNESOTA and is an English Education volunteer. So, Dan sees I’m upset and immediately asks “what’s wrong?” I quickly told him the story.
“Let’s go!” Dan said already taking charge. I grabbed my coat, and we marched towards the Primary School, clearly on a mission. We first stopped at the magazine where the lady was able to tell us the name and grade of one of the boys in the group. When we arrived at the School there was a teacher outside. Dan told her what happened, and she lead us to the appropriate classroom.
The moment I entered the class, I saw him.
He was wearing a red sweatshirt and had a Western Union backpack. The moment he saw me he turned away in panic. Already gaining satisfaction, I pointed him out. Impetuously, his teacher and the woman that helped us find the classroom made him stand in front of the class and began questioning him.
Nicolai. That was his name.
Nicolai pleaded ignorance until one of his ‘friends’ ratted him out. Nicolai was made to apologize and currently cannot come back to school unless he comes with both of his parents.
They made an example of him in front of the class and apologized to me profusely. His poor behavior was not merely a reflection of the boy and his family. It was also a reflection of them, and they took his behavior personally. Immediately, they began to explain the familial issues within Moldova that could justify this type of behavior. While I understood where they were coming from, I knew that had I been anyone else that little boy would have NEVER thought to kick me. And that was what upset me most; the blatant disrespect the kid had for me that he didn’t have for anyone else. Not to mention, I had been kicked in the leg and told to “GO BACK TO AMERICA” all in the same freakin week. UGH!
After gaining my composure here is what I noticed: People helped me.
My site mate’s quick action helped me regain my control. The woman at the magazine came to my defense and provided valuable information which eventually lead us to the woman at the school, who lead us to the very classroom that Nicolai was in. Also, his teachers rectified the incident by taking severe action and making an example out of Nicolai in front of his peers.
Today, I am accepting that the community, while being my biggest headache, will also be my greatest asset.
Besides, maybe this is proof that I need to do a seminar on violence in the Primary School????
There are opportunities everywhere!
That is all.