Fragrant aromas and Bollywood tunes filled the air as vendors dressed in vibrant, swirling saris and hijabs hawked everything from steaming pots of tea, spices, naan, curry, khatai cookies and esfijas (mini Arabic meat pie pastries) to worry dolls, glass beads, handmade carpet knives and fortune-telling services at Windermere Elementary School on Friday, June 7th.
The school’s Grade 6 Intensive French class put on an Afghani-Pakistani market, which tied in with their studies. The class read two books — ‘The Breadwinner’ and ‘Iqbal’ — set in Afghanistan and Pakistan. ‘Iqbal’ is the fictionalized novel of the real-life story of Iqbal Mashih, a 12-year-old Pakistani boy murdered after speaking out against child labour. The students used the market as a fundraiser and donated all the proceeds to the Iqbal Mashih Shaheed Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving children’s rights.
“The kids have been excited about this for weeks,” said class teacher Bridget Anakin.
The school’s other classes, along with teachers, parents and a few Windermere residents came out to see what the 25 vendors had on offer.
The market had its own currency exchange (only rupees could be used to make purchases), multi-lingual signs and bargaining galore. The curry sold out in short order and many other stalls were out of stock by the time the market closed at noon. Vendors and prospective customers haggled with gusto and there were some great deals to be had.
“It’s a great way for the students to get a sense of the culture we have been reading about in the books,” said Ms. Anakin.
The carpet knife stall and Madame Zahra’s palm-reading fortune telling stall did particularly brisk business and still had customers lined up as the market shut.