Friday, 19 April 2013

A Spanish school arranges Mercadillo Solidario

Today at the elementary school we didn't have English class.  Instead, the school was holding a special event:  A mercadillo solidario (literally: caring market). 

The market works as follows:  Each child brings in two items from home:  (1)  A non-perishable food item, and (2)  something for the market (typical garage sale fare such as books, clothes, toys, and DVDs).  The food is put in a grocery cart, and the market goods are spread out on tables around the room.  

The food is then donated to the Ayuntamiento (local council offices/town hall) who distribute it to the local food banks and give each participating child a bookmark.  Each child then chooses an item from the market.  

All the children in the school, including the 2 year olds (pictured above) came to see the market, and once they were all assembled, there was singing.  Even the 2 year olds joined in (with the hand movements if not the actual singing!)

The children loved giving away the market goods, and tried to persuade me that I needed a Spanish language (cartoon) version of La Pequeña Dorrit and an abridged English version of Tess of the D'Urbervilles.  I managed to resist their high pressure sales tactics (look!  It's English!  Perfect for you!) and instead, chose a cute little picture book called Las Fantasmas Buscan Casa. This choice was a source of great hilarity!

The teachers kindly allowed me to take these pictures, and explained to me how the market worked, and the motivation behind it.  Spain is experiencing an economic crisis, they explained, and, as one of the teachers put it, 'it's so important that they learn, at this young age, to do things like this.'  De acuerdo.    

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