Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Welcome to Ellis Island!

Last week, we had a work team in from Mosaic Church in Monroe Falls, Ohio. This work team did some work up in the mountains and at a coffee plantation, then spent some time on campus at Doulos. One of the many things they did while on campus was to help in creating a simulation for the 5th graders, who are studying immigration.

The members of the work team posed as different people and stations that would have made up Ellis Island. The students then went through the entire immigration process.

First, the students boarded the boat (entered the small storage closet) were they traveled to the new world. It was a tight fit, but they managed. With the help of their Captain and First Mate, they had to fill out their paperwork on the boat and get their passports.

Upon arriving at Ellis Island, they had to go through the first of 2 registrations. The first registration checked IDs, checked passport documentation, and gave some of the kids a new "American" name.
The next registration person was checking them for general physical defects. This registration officer had them walking, jumping, balancing, etc. Some of the kids had recieved letters on their backs, meaning there was something wrong with them (E= eye problems, A= arm problmes, etc)

After the registration areas, the kids were sent to the nurses' station, where they were given a "health check". They had their heads checked for lice, their eyes and ears checked, etc. Anyone with a letter on their back was checked for specific problems and had that taken care of.
After the nurses' station, the kids went to baggage inspection. The students were told to pack the 5 most important things to them in their backpacks to bring on the trip. Two inspection officers checks their bags for items that were illegal to bring to America (or things they just wanted to confiscate for fun).
After baggage inspection, they went to currency exchange where some kids got lots of money for their currency and some got very little. So is life when exchanging money.

They then had to go to the waiting room and fill out even more paperwork. They also had to wait, and wait, and wait.
When their family name was called, they had to go to the Legal inspector. This person was someone who looked and sounded different (different culture, different language). They had a translator to translate what the inspector said. This was the final person to decide if they were allowed to enter the United States.

Throughout this whole process, some of the students failed to have their passports signed by certain inspectors or station officers. (This was done on purpose). When they were missing a signature, they were sent to the back of the line to try to get the signature of the appropriate person. Also, not all of the students made it to America. One student didn't make it past the nurses' station. He was "diseased" and had to be sent back to his homeland. He had to spend the rest of the time during the simulation in the boat. Another student was caught trying to steal money (since she didn't feel like she got enough with the exchange) and tried to smuggle the diseased immigrant into the country. She was detained and sent back to the boat. Two other students were denied entrance by the legal inspector and were sent back as well.

At one time, one of the girls had missed getting a signature on her passport. She was walking around from station to station, holding out her passport, and looking around aimlessly as she tried to figure out where she was supposed to go. This reminded me of when I enter a country for the first time; as I walk around, trying to figure out where I am supposed to go and who I am supposed to see in order to get into the country. It can be a confusing process to enter a new country, and these kids got a little taste of that for themselves as they entered the United States through Ellis Island.

1 comment:

Jess Gates said...

This seems like such a cool simulation! Can i do it?