When we set off to our dream motorcycle journey across Americas, which we entitled the TranscontiMental one, we decided to give something from ourselves on the way: to use the covered miles to deliver a joy to someone and initiate something meaningful. We played the role of messengers carrying a package of letters from Polish kids addressed to their peers compatriots living on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The initiated correspondence was to help them learn their native language in a natural and creative way. The School No. 1 in Kowary in Poland joined the project as well as the Polish School named after Helena Modrzejewska in Yorba Linda, California in the United States. Are you curious how things turned out?
We would like to thank the teachers and the management of both schools for enthusiastic engagement in the project: Małgorzata Krysiak from School No. 1 in Kowary (Kowary is a small town at the foot of the Karkonosze Mountains, 15 minutes from my hometown Karpacz) and Kazimiera Kmak from the Helena Modrzejewska Polish School, located in Yorba Linda, California, in the United States. I can not fail to mention the participation and help of my always creative and open-minded Mum, who at that time taught the second class at the school in Kowary and immediately found my idea interesting and worth pursuing. Diana Klich together with her pupils prepared a package of beautiful letters, enriched with their photos and drawings. They crossed the Atlantic with us, and then traveled 19,000 km (nearly 12,000 miles) in a motorcycle case, from New York through 17 states to California, to reach the young addressees.
We arrived to the Polish school in Yorba Linda in December 2016, just before Christmas, so the children welcomed us with Christmas carols. Before we handled the letters, we wanted to tell the youth about the way the messages traveled to them, that is, about our journey through the United States and about the beautiful region of Poland from which their peers who had written to them come from. We quickly found out that children are the most charming, but also the most demanding public. Each kid reacted vividly to the places recognized on the slides, had a story to tell, but the biggest splash was made by Joki's amulet: a real dinosaur bone received from a treasure hunter met on the way.
We, in turn, were impressed by the fact that the students of the school in California devoted their weekends, the only time off from a standard school, to learn the language, history and geography of their home country and to cultivate Polish traditions and customs.
The first set of letter responses from the children living in the US to those from Poland was sent with the help of the teachers, on behalf of the school. We know that the kids were super excited to receive letters from across the ocean. After some time, when some of the students finished their 3rd grade, the youth exchanged private addresses to continue the correspondence on their own, individually.
What will result from this we do not know, but if the dialogue initiated by us encouraged them to write in Polish, and over time it will transform into a long acquaintance, maybe even friendship, thanks to which the young people will visit each other on the distant land, our joy of the undertaken action will certainly be double :))