Morning Rituals: Part 1


Just inside the gates of the historic French Concession villa where Max’s school is housed is a child sized sink with 4 taps, a bottle of soap beside each. Next to the sink is a large basket of folded white towels. The children enter and wait for a spot. Once their hands are washed and dried they line up for inspection. A woman wearing a white lab coat sits at a table checking the children one by one. She feels their throat to see if there are any swollen glands, places a hand on their foreheads to check for fever, beams a flashlight down their mouths to see if there are blisters and carefully inspects both the front and back of the kids’ hands. Having passed inspection each child is handed a red plastic token which they carry up to the class and place in a little pocket hanging on the door. One day, last year, Max was handed a yellow ticket because his fingernails were too long. There are also blue tickets but we haven’t yet figured out what they are for.

Update: A knowledgeable friend has informed me that the blue tickets are given to kids who need to take medicine. I knew I would learn something from writing this blog.

Another Update: This morning, for the first time, Max was handed a blue ticket. The apparent reason was that he had forgotten his shoupa . Hmmm

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