The big brown colored man
by Evans Yonson
Barcelona – in the early part of the schoolyear, teachers are allowed to wear just t-shirt and jeans. there is actually no dress code in spanish academies with little children as students. so, i go to class as my usual self – tanned, black shirt, brown pants, brown rubber shoes and my ever-dependable brown sling bag.
one of the activities i usually give my young students in class is vocabulary and color association. like red for apples. yellow for banana. blue skies. two birds with one stone. they don’t only learn the colors but also new words like fruits and animals.
in one class, i distributed photocopied sheets of food – pizza, potatoes, grapes, strawberries, bread, oranges, yogurt, ice cream in a cone, peas, carrots, pineapple, and so on. and in this class, there were 3 students – one boy and two girls. i taught them how to pronounce the words and write the correct spelling. after sensing that they finally understood and grasped what i was telling them, i decided that it’s coloring time.
the two girls were quick to take their crayons out. but the boy was just staring at me. i didn’t mind him at all, thinking that he was waiting for his creative stance to come out.
five minutes after, while the girls were already deep in their colorful world, the boy was still at it. three minutes after, i decided to ask him what was happening. and he replied that he’s still thinking.
a minute after, i was amused that he took his crayons and started his stuff. he colored his bread brown. good! for potatoes, brown. great! then ice cream cone, brown. better! then ice cream, brown. must be chocolate-flavored!
then i moved to the girls to see how they were doing. in less than 15 seconds, i saw the boy coloring his grapes, brown. and i wondered, are there brown grapes? must be californian grapes? tuscan? or french? or probably riojan?
so, i let it go…. moving on, i was still giving him furtive glances. when he got into pineapple, i thought he would take green, yellow or orange. but no. still brown.
peas. brown. must be rotten peas. carrots. brown. must be unwashed carrots. but, strawberries. brown. brown strawberries?!?!?!?
i approached him and asked, ‘why is everything brown?’
he said, ‘look at you. do you eat all these fruits and food?’
and i said, ‘yes, of course. i love all these.’
he said, ‘see what happened to you. your skin is all brown.’