Spanish-speaking four-year-old turns heads on first day in Kozhikode school

Added to that was a strange-looking child sitting among them speaking what seemed to be gibberish.

Published: 02nd June 2022 06:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd June 2022 06:45 AM   |  A+A-

Hannah with her mother Carmen Rosa Rodiquez Salasar at Government UP School, Thottumukkam, in Kozhikode

Express News Service

KOZHIKODE: For tiny-tots enrolled in the LKG section of Thottumukkam Government UP School in Kodiyathoor grama panchayat, Wednesday was a day of surprises — both pleasant and unpleasant — as it was their first day in a formal school. Added to that was a strange-looking child sitting among them speaking what seemed to be gibberish.

The Spanish-speaking girl, at first, looked around in search of a good friend and later started staring at the other students and the way they were speaking Malayalam at a fast clip. Cute-looking four-year-old Hannah Thirunilath Rodiquez is the daughter of Malayali father Jamsheer Thirunilath and Peruvian mother Carmen Rosa Rodiquez Salasar. Hannah was the centre of attraction at the Thottumukkam school during Praveshanolsavam.

Hannah’s family recently came from Peru to Jamsheer’s native place, Thottumukkam. The family has a love story to share which has cut across caste, religion, language and nationality lines. Hannah speaks only Spanish now but is trying her best to pick up Malayalam to make friends in her classroom. In her broken language, she said, “I like my friends and school.”

Talking about the love story, Jamsheer said, “I was working as a chef in an Indian restaurant in Connecticut Province of the US when I met Carmen through a social networking site. For more than two years, we had been in a relationship and later she shifted to Argentina where she ran a mobile shop. After two years, I returned to Kozhikode and asked Carmen to come down here. The very next day of her arrival, we got married in Kozhikode. Our marriage was the talk of the town as such a transnational marriage had never been seen here. Carmen, a Catholic, had converted to Islam in Argentina.”

We are trying to teach them Malayalam: Dad

Carmen gave birth to Hannah and then Hudramzan in Peru. Hence, the children are Peruvian citizens. 
Three months back, the family returned to Kozhikode, expecting to offer a better education to their kids in Kerala.  “The schools in Kerala are definitely centres of excellence with better infrastructure,” said Jamsheer. 

“Unlike our era, government schools in the state now have high-tech classrooms, better libraries, qualified teachers and a generally conducive academic environment. At least for a few years till my kids get a better education foundation here, I will be sending my kids to the schools here.

“Though they don’t speak or understand Malayalam now since their mother tongue is Spanish, we are trying our best to teach them the language,” Jamsheer told TNIE.



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  • Vijay Sankar

    No worries
    3 months ago reply
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