By: Yasmine Lemzoudi

It’s early in the morning. The shops which usually pave the way to the Najdeh association are all closed except for the ‘Manaeesh’ shops which are at their busiest preparing pizza like pieces of bread with thyme or cheese on top that everybody eats for breakfast. I try my best not to get my feet splashed with the water coming out of the houses and running down the middle of the meter wide alleyways. My body is already covered with sweat and it’s only nine in the morning. As I get to the classroom, the children greet me with the usual: “good morning miss!” As I start the class, the director brings two new students into the tiny room which barely fits the others. After fifteen minutes so many students have arrived in the 2 by 4 meter room that they have to sit in a second row of chairs around the only table in the room. Today’s activity is based on emotions. We first reviewed the different feelings and once they finished doing some written exercises, we moved on to the fun part of the lesson: they had to pick one emotion or feeling, write the word on coloured paper and decorate it. As they cut their chosen emotion in interesting shapes and glued it unto a wider piece of paper, I asked them to write down things that they associated with that emotion. Once they were finished, I went around the room and glanced at their papers and was astonished to see how many of them wrote : “I love Yasmine” or “I love you teacher” surrounded by flowers and hearts. They probably had no idea how much those words meant to me and I had no clue of how much I meant to them! I cut pieces of tape and put their creations up on the walls so that I could come in the next morning and remember that these children appreciate me and that it is enough of a reason to be here, no matter how hard that is.

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