Fernanda, an au pair from Bolivia living with her host family in the Washington, D.C., area, recently visited a pre-school class to share her Bolivian culture with 17 eager young students to promote cross-cultural awareness and understanding. In addition to locating Bolivia on the map and teaching the children what the Bolivian flag looks like, she decided to focus her presentation on two fun traditional characters from her home country: the Zebra and La Chola.
The Bolivian Zebras, as Fernanda explained, are local citizens dressed in zebra costumes who help pedestrians cross the streets at crosswalks, knows as “zebra crossings.” Part of a public safety campaign developed over the last several years, they are a common sight on some busy city streets. The zebras are very friendly, and they play with the kids and dance as they help people to cross safely and become aware of traffic rules. The children were interested to learn about these helpful characters!
La Chola, another Bolivian cultural figure, is a Bolivian Amerindian woman who wears traditional indigenous clothing. She usually wears many skirts layered over each other, a colorful fringed shawl, and two long braids topped by a bowler hat. As Fernanda explained to the children, Las Cholas can now be found in many different types of jobs, including in the government and even professional wrestling. Fernanda showed her attentive young audience a picture of a special house, inspired in design by superheroes like Iron Man, where some Cholas live.
Reflecting back on her experience presenting to the 4-year-old children, Fernanda said, “I learned what differentiates my country from others because there were many things that I was used to and were normal for me, but now I realize how little things make a place really special and magical. That’s how I think Bolivia is. Now I know more about my country and love it even more. I understand some of my own characteristics and how living in that fantastic mountain place influenced who I am. The next day three parents asked me about my country, and they thanked me for sharing that with their kids.”
Thank you, Fernanda, for sharing about your home country and teaching these bright young children to embrace new cultures and traditions!
Is your family interested in experiencing intercultural child care with a fantastic au pair like Fernanda? Learn more at www.aupairinamerica.com.