Spanish-speaking four-year-old turns heads on first day at school in Kozhikode – The New Indian Express
Express press service
KOZHIKODE: For the toddlers enrolled in the LKG section of the Thottumukkam government school in Kodiyathoor grama panchayat, Wednesday was a day full of surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant, as it was their first day in a formal school . On top of that, a strange-looking child sat among them talking what sounded like gibberish.
The Spanish speaking girl at first looked around for a good friend and then started looking at the other students and how they were speaking Malayalam at a fast pace. Four-year-old Hannah Thirunilath Rodicz is the daughter of Malayali father Jamsheer Thirunilath and Peruvian mother Carmen Rosa Rodicz Salasar. Hannah was the center of attraction for the Thottumukkam school during Praveshanolsavam.
Hannah’s family recently arrived from Peru in Jamsheer’s hometown of Thottumukkam. The family has a love story to share that transcends caste, religion, language and nationality. Hannah only speaks Spanish now but does her best to learn Malayalam in order to make friends in her class. In her broken tongue, she said, “I love my friends and school.”
Talking about the romance, Jamsheer said, “I was working as a chef in an Indian restaurant in the province of Connecticut in the United States when I met Carmen through a social networking site. For more than two years we were a couple and later she moved to Argentina where she ran a mobile shop. After two years, I returned to Kozhikode and asked Carmen to come here. The day after his arrival, we got married in Kozhikode. Our wedding was the talk of the town as such a transnational wedding had never been seen here. Carmen, a Catholic, had converted to Islam in Argentina.
We try to teach them Malayalam: dad
Carmen gave birth to Hannah and then Hudramzan in Peru. Therefore, the children are Peruvian citizens.
Three months ago, the family returned to Kozhikode, hoping to provide a better education for their children in Kerala. “Schools in Kerala are definitely centers of excellence with better infrastructure,” Jamsheer said.
“Unlike our times, public schools across the state now have high-tech classrooms, better libraries, qualified teachers, and a generally supportive academic environment. At least for a few years until my children get a better education base here, i will send my children to schools here.
“Although they don’t speak or understand Malayalam now since their mother tongue is Spanish, we are doing our best to teach them the language,” Jamsheer told TNIE.