“Polin” means Poland in Hebrew. It also means ‘rest here’ and/or ‘stay here’.
To prepare ourselves to be in Krakow, the first museum we visited today was Polin Museum or the museum of the history of Polish Jew.
Because the history of Polish Jew and Poland itself have been intertwined for a thousand years. According to the legend, the Jews had been traveling since the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem. They were looking for a new land to settle in. They kept going and going and praying and praying until they arrived on a hill. They heard birds calling out “polin….polin….”. In Hebrew, this means ‘rest here’ and/or ‘stay here’. So, they saw this as a sign from God and settled there.
This is what we know as Poland today.
From the exhibition we learnt that the records of the Jews in Poland could be dated back to 10th century. They were known for their trading activities. Their trade let to the beginning of their relation with Poland and it was only until 13th century that the Jews were granted protection and certain privileges from the Polish Prince Boleslaus the Pious. This was the beginning of hundreds of years of migration of Jews from all over the world to Poland.
The children learnt today of the beginning of the story of Polish Jews as well as Poles. Through this museum, they learnt of tolerance and diversity as well as cruelty and separation in the more recent history of the Holocaust.
Meeting our host families
After the museum, we headed right away to Krakow to meet our host families. Throughout the long bus ride, Kru Logan kept all the children busy with games and talk. The children bonded really well together. We started to see some quieter ones blooming among friends. It seems like when we give them their own room to breath, they can now grow with more confidence.
We arrived in Krakow quite late in the afternoon. All the families were already waiting for them. Paderewski School, out host, was more than welcoming. Our host parents and children were eager to meet their Thai partners. They even printed out a welcoming poster for us in Thai!
But before anything, we started our encounter with a small speech from their respected
headmaster and then some games! We did simple song games such as “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands….” and “Head, shoulders, knees and toes….” This seemed to have gotten all the children working their coordination together with their partners too.
After the games, they spent more time with their partners and mingled with others children during dinner. It was such a wonderful sight to see some of the children recognising their partners right away, even before the games started. Their partners looked equally excited about this week to come.
This is just the beginning. Let’s see how their friendship will grow in the next few days…