Sunday, March 17, 2019

Go Fly A Kite

Image result for kite

Environmental & Science Education
Edward Hessler

For many of us being a kid means having toys to play with, at least a few.  For many children in refugee camps this cannot be taken for granted.

This year NPR produced a segment on 10-year-old Fayes Khamal, the "kite guy," who lives in the Hakimpara Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh.  Khamal makes kites from leftover scraps of the shelters people live in--bamboo and plastic sheeting/plastic bags.  He is both an avid kite designer and flyer and also equally happy giving them away for others to fly.  First flights are tested and Khamal "says he can feel through the string if it's a success or not." Non-flyers are discarded and I suspect parts that he can use are recycled.

Khamal is a close observer of kite design and flight behavior. The kite is diamond-shaped and includes an element I've not seen before. Khamal "cuts a plastic grocery bag into stips and teases the ends into frilly tassels." These are attached to "the kite to make the tail and what he calls 'arms'--strips of plastic that dangle from each side of the kite and flap wildly when it's flying in the air."

Khamal notes that "'if (the kite) didn't have arms and a tail the kite won't fly well. It would spin around in the sky. It needs these extra pieces.'"

Jason Beauboin's story is lavishly illustrated  with color photographs.

Fayes Khamal is a magic-maker but the story is unbearably sad, too. There is way, way too much suffering on this planet.

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