I am not saying that these Brazilian children are very different from the children I knew in the U.S. In fact, they are startlingly similar. They play the same games: House, cars and dress-up. They face the same problems: Sharing, pushing and calling each other names. They have the same demands: “Push me on the swings,” “help me” and “tie my shoes.” But most importantly, they require the same love.
In the time that I have spent with them, I have taught them many tings: To draw stars, to dance ballet, to sing a song, to write the letters of the alphabet and to count in English. However, these 6-year-olds have taught me something far more important: To love them unconditionally. The soul and spirit that these children share is entirely Brazilian, like nothing I have ever seen before. These children are more than just a classroom, they are a family. And this family of amazing individuals has adopted me. I couldn’t be happier.
Grace Livermore is a Cooperstown Rotary exchange student.