La Classe Des Papillons

(The class of butterflies)

 This was my second class. Here, I worked with a bunch of amazingly interesting children of about 3-4 years old. As usual, some of these kids struck me more than the others did.


I don’t see why I would not list you as the first one on my list. You definitely did not catch my attention initially; but when you did, all my attention was yours. You’re very very beautiful (not ‘cute’); and everyone agrees on that. However, I remember the first time I spoke to you. As human beings are, I asked you ‘ca va?’ and just assumed you were going to nod or say you were fine. It wasn’t until I looked back down at where you were standing that I noticed that you were still talking and smiling. Out of curiosity and surprise I listened to what you were saying and, God help me, you were talking about your village. It wasn’t until Yasmin (who worked with your class last week) also pointed out that she experienced the same as you delved into all you knew about Cocody and Cote D’ivoire when she asked you what your name was. I spent the whole week studying you and listening to your extremely off-point answers, looking at you backing the teacher while everyone learnt, listened to you playing double-roles while you talked to yourself, watched you suddenly start laughing in the middle of a lesson and then whisper something to yourself; watched the teachers separate you with the other special kids in order to assist you with your class work. They say that the teachers have suggested to your parents that you might be somewhat special but your mom would not hear any of that. Do I think you need some special attention? Yes, I do. Maybe not from some medical person, but from the world. Because you’re indeed very special, funny and quite bright.

From you, I learnt that it’s really not bad to create your own bubble… sometimes the world doesn’t just get.


Oh, mighty Orlane. I knew you even before I entered your class. You’re like the Melvin of this class… but the female version. So what if you cannot speak? You make a hella noise (which sometimes can be annoying) but most times is just amusing. During break one time, I heard one of the older teacher say with so much assurance in her voice, ‘She’s a really intelligent girl; Orlane. One day, she’ll speak. I know it. It might just take time’. And yes, I believe her. I remember the day we learnt ‘up and down’ in French. And they made the kids recite ‘En haut and En bas’ throughout the day, you made the same rhythmic noise alongside that day… and the rest of the week. You looooooooove attention and that’s not even bad. I just think you need to let other kids share in the spotlight too.

From you, I have learnt that it’s possible to jump from 7:30am-4:40pm


Tom-Boy aye. Yasmin says she thinks you’re the class’s most intelligent. I think you’re the class’s sharpest. They are not necessarily the same thing; you know. You’re so sharp for a 3 year old girl. And ohhh so pretty. You think on your feet and you’re quite the inquisitive child. I mean, you’re a proof that the smartest people ask the most questions. Don’t ever lose that touch… ever. I mean, see how the teacher is always like ‘Bravo Anne-Sarah, please Maitress give Anne-Sarah a sweet’ or ‘Everyone kick your footballs like Anne Sarah’. I have tried to think about your driving force (because, for a 3year old, you have a lot) and I’ve come to the rebuttable conclusion that you’re quite the competitive child, you want so much to be the first in everything, you get angry when some other kid has the spot-light for so long and you work hard at getting it back. It’s almost like a survival instinct kind of thing. That’s not bad.. at all at all. I just hope you’ll grow into a woman with enough intuition to know when to balance the crave for success against the necessity to be humane.

From you, I have learnt to strive to always be on top of my game… no matter how child-ish the game is.


I know that the first day I saw you, the first word that popped in my mind was ‘Areaaaa’. Lol… from your silver bracelet to that gangster scar on your face, to your never really tucked-in shirt, to the ‘I’m a don child. Call me don Samuel’ look you give anyone. But spending one week with you made me know that you’re probably not even half-that. You’re a sweet young man that’s not afraid to say when he wants to poop, sing children songs, get scared at fake lion impersonations or do anything conventionally un-gangster. And maybe that’s being the real gangster. I just wish you’d pay more attention to work like you do to play.

From you, I learnt that real gangster is one who chooses to do whatever the hell he wants to even if that means reporting other kids and screaming when someone roars like a lion in your face.


Keep being intelligent. Your brown low-cut hair looks beautiful. Move to the front of the class.

Older people say this and I can’t believe I’m also about to say it but; you’re about the only child in that school that I see a lot of myself in. There’s so much I’d like to tell you… cause I see lots of familiar patterns. But then… I mean, language barrier plus people like us would always be fine. You’ll be fine.

From you, I’ve learnt to play even harder on the playground just when my parents decide to scrap off all my hair.


Oga wa… you finally won Zohore on the ‘I can’t pay attention for more than 5 seconds game’. I know you’re just 3 or 4 but then, you have to learn to pay attention to your work. I like the fact that you’re really patient with yourself. Like you don’t rush nothing. So what if your mates are on their third activity, you take your sexy time. But sometimes, some things need to be done fast and on the spot. You have to learn to be focused.

From you, I’ve learnt that sometimes, it’s fine to go on travels in my mind.

Raviya and Yohanna

I’m so sorry I have to write this grouping both you but you guys are so identical… choi. There’s the spot on (Raviya’s?) face but other than that, you guys are basically identical. I really really love it that you guys don’t walk hip by hip and sit together and do stuff together (as twisted as that sounds). I mean, I know you guys love each other and stuff but I really love the independence you have in solidarity. I give your parents props for that. I just hope it doesn’t get to a point where it becomes complete apathy. What am I saying? Y’all still so young.

From Raviya, I learnt not to cover up my spots; sometimes they are the only things that distinguish me from the next person.

From Yohanna, I learnt not to give myself spots in order to look like another person. K


Lol… in you Raquel, I see a very confident woman. I feel like that’s from your mom… it’s just a feeling. But you rock that human-imposed tiny locked hair well. You keep being a good girl… and don’t try your hand at bullying.

From you, I learnt that sometimes mother knows best.


You’re so cute; you remind me of Ange-Emmanuel. It’s good that you pay rapt attention in class and your voice is among the loudest voices in class. However, you might want to go softly on your lip-sucking. I’m afraid that part of your lip would stay swollen like that… but to avoid further swelling, you’ve got to stop.

From you, I haven’t really learnt anything I can remember but that’s the effect cute people have on me… they make me forget stuff.


I just like you sha. I don’t know why. I thought you were actually dfferent the first time I saw you. You have a smile plastered on your face like 24/7 . Annnd your hair is so full. ^_^ From you, I’ve learnt that with a smile, I can win almost anybody over.


The perfect and detailed ‘colorer’. You’d re-do the Monalisa and no one would even notice that it was redone… you’re that detailed. Only that you might just never really finish it in time. You, like Othiel, have to focus and pay attention. I know you want to never color outside the border of the drawing and you want to make sure the crayon patterns are identical all through; however, you have to learn to introduce speed and focus into your work.

From you, I learnt that some borders are not to be crossed and doing that requires extra attention.

I feel like I had to tell everyone in this class to pay more attention to their work… maybe it’s a 3-year old thing. But they were like little angels and I enjoyed (almost) every bit of my work with them

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