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Helping and Sharing

“When we have a little, we share. When we have a lot, we keep it for ourselves.” Patrice, Coordinator of preschool education for JRS in Southeastern Cameroon

Sharing and helping are two of the three values in Little Ripples’ preschool curriculum. They seem to come naturally for the teachers, cooks, and children we have met and spent time with here in Cameroon. Peace is the third value and it is also in abundance.

We see easy, natural examples of helping and sharing throughout the day. Helping might look like supporting the parents with young children by holding them, playing with them, or soothing them to sleep. There is sharing of materials, water, and snacks. There is translation from French to tribal languages when necessary. All of it has an air of ease and seems to be completely natural and normal. It is heartwarming to be in the presence of this each day. Watching the children share blocks and balls, try to soothe a crying baby, and offer one half of a cookie to another child seems, again, so natural.

I’m aware of the cultural differences between Cameroon and my life in the US, where we have so much. This is certainly not to say that I don’t see examples of helping and sharing at home. I do. But there is something about these values in Cameroon that stand out to me — the ease and grace of it. It is a reinforcement that having extra is not a prerequisite for sharing or helping. Goodness arises by sharing what we have with another. Also, being in the presence of this simply feels natural and good.


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