Our girls love to ask about favorite things. Ma’am, what’s your favorite color? Ma’am, what’s your favorite animal? Ma’am, what’s your favorite flower? Ma’am, what’s your favorite fruit? This is partially because these are some of the first English words the girls can use with confidence—that and “Good morning, I am fine, thank you,” which they like to say in one quick stream every morning. They also love to tell us what their favorite things are, so we decided to make a study of it. We printed up some “About Me” surveys, which included questions on their favorite color, animal, food, ice cream, hobby, school subject, and flower. We also included questions about their dreams for the future and what adjectives they would use to describe themselves.
The girls who know how to read and write in English filled out their own surveys, which occasionally resulted in some creative spellings and answers, like the girl who insisted her dream is “to fish.” The other surveys were filled out by teachers who translated the questions into Hindi, Assamese, or Bengali and then translated the answers back into English. Some times the girls gave several answers—one said her favorite color is “green, blue, purple, and black”—and other times they gave no answer—our most studious girl said that she doesn’t like any games. Basically, there’s a lot of irregularity here, but with this many unique young ladies, irregularity is to be expected.
On some points, our girls are of one mind. All but four of them said their favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate. Thirteen girls also said their favorite candy is chocolate, though they specified different kinds (Cadbury, Dairy Milk, Silk). Nine girls said their favorite flower is a rose, while the others said a daisy, jasmine, lotus, pansy, or sunflower.
Other questions showcased the girls’ variability. Their favorite animals are, in order of decreasing preference: dogs, rabbits, lions, horses, cats, elephants, doves, peacocks, zebras, cows, and goats. Though six girls called red their favorite color and five girls said blue, we also saw pink, yellow, green, black, purple, brown, and orange.
After they listed all their favorite things, we asked the girls to pick three adjectives they would use to describe themselves. We love how many of them chose words like “happy,” “helpful,” and “loving,” but we found most touching the groups of words each girl pulled together. “Helpful, hard-working, smart.” “Happy, quiet, loving.” “Good, smart, silly.” “Happy, hopeful.” “Stubborn, helpful, thoughtful.” “Strong, good, helpful.” “Crazy, silly, strong.” “Helpful, studious, thoughtful.” “Courageous, jolly, easily-angered.” “Funny, loving, hard-working.”
The best parts of these surveys, however, were the final questions. What do our girls want to do in the future? They want to be doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers, engineers, dancers, singers, Seven Sisters caregivers, Zumba instructors.
And their dreams?
“To give all happiness to my parents and my elder sister.”
“To help other people and end illiteracy.”
“To look after my little brother.”
“To go to different places and help poor people.”
“To be a teacher and give time to little children.”
“To help girls who are in trouble.”
Special thanks to singer/songwriter Chelsea Marie Davis for helping our girls draw these lovely self portraits and for sharing her excellent music with our song-loving sweethearts.