2017-01-08 Sun


I help out at a local ESL café, although the truth is that they help me more than I help them.

Most of my “beginners” group are young people, top age perhaps thirty, with an occasional older person, typically staying for three months with the daughter, who is at University.

I learn a bit about culture, get to test my knowledge of geography, and continue to remove layers of racist phobia planted in my mid during my formative years in Australia. I enjoy the entire process, including the twenty-minute walk after supper and the twenty-minute walk home after ESL café.

During the week thoughts pop into my mind, here is one.

I was born in England, raised in Australia, and now live in North America. Ask me to name twenty cities or major towns in those areas and I can probably reel them off without pausing for breath.

Now test me on Japan, or China, or Brazil.Hah!

To my mind there are only three cities in China – Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong.

To my mind there are only three cities in Japan – Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Osaka.

Chances are strong that the young Brazilian is as aware of Milton, Orangeville, Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Burlington, Oakville, Newmarket, Bradford, Barrie, Orillia, Port Perry, Lindsay and Peterborough as am I of Fortaleza Juazeiro, Aracaju, Alagoinhas, Espinosa, Rio Verde Bauru and Jau.

Just for the heck of it, try naming twenty cities in Africa. Africa-the-continent, not any one country in Africa, but Africa-the-continent, all 11,000,000 square miles of it, almost four times the area of the USA, almost four times the area of Australia.

If you can’t list twenty cities in Africa, try listing twenty countries in Africa.