‘What is this colour in English?’ Ted asked the group of kids sitting on the grass outside the monastery. The sun in Taiwan was so hot that they had to sit under a huge umbrella to protect themselves from getting burned.
‘Gree-een’, the children responded in unison. They were a friendly bunch. Eight girls and two boys. All aged seven. Ted had been teaching them for a couple of weeks now, every day. Their level of English had been improving by the day, and they could perform calculations much better now.
All of the kids lived at the monastery with the monks and the nuns. They had all been abandoned as babies. In the Chinese culture, it was still favourable to have male children, which is why many girls got abandoned. In particular in mainland China, due to the one-child policy, many girls were left on their own as the family wanted to get another chance to produce a boy for the family without having to pay huge fines for having more than one child. The two boys in the group were the brothers of one of the girls. For unknown reasons, they had all been abandoned by their families.
Ted enjoyed teaching and could clearly see how much the children valued his efforts and the time he was putting into teaching them. At the beginning of every lesson, they came to sit under the umbrella bright-eyed, eager to learn. They always said good morning and smiled wide smiles. They were so focussed throughout the lessons that Ted was amazed every single day at how children of this age could remain so concentrated and take in so much information throughout the whole day. And the day was long. It was always eight hours, after which the children were still expected to do some homework. But the children really didn’t mind. They just seemed to love being at school.