Help solve the mystery of the global dolls
Today, while eating lunch in the teachers’ room, I got an unexpected phone call from the main office. A parent of some of my former students had arrived with a donation.
“Can she bring this donation to your classroom?” the receptionist asked. “She says she has some dolls from Nepal.”
I had no idea what to expect, but agreed to meet her. I have a few dolls from my travels, and they are fun to use in the classroom, in particular when we are discussing culture.A few minutes later, she arrived to my classroom with a big black trash bag. She explained that a good friend had passed away, and she couldn’t bear to see her friend’s collection thrown out. The owner of the dolls had been a big traveler, especially to Nepal, and the parent bringing them to me assumed the dolls were from there. As she took them out, I saw at least one pair of dolls that looked like they came from Nepal. They are beautiful — what looks like a couple carrying a heavy load at the end of a long day of work.
As we went through the other dolls in the bag, I realized that these were not all from Nepal. I have to admit — I have guesses for where some of them are from, but others are a total mystery to me. That’s where you come in. Help me, dear readers, to solve this puzzle. Where are these dolls from?
Mystery Doll Couple #1: They don’t quite look Tibetan to me…
Mystery Doll Couple #2: Are they dancers?
Mystery Dolls #3: How old are these?
Mystery Doll #4: Does she live in the Andes Mountains of South America?
Mystery Doll #5: Is she friends with doll #4? Where will her baby grow up to live?
Mystery Dolls #6: What else besides dolls might be made of these materials?
Ok, let’s see if the internet can work its magic. Please share this post with your global friends, and comment on the blog entry if you have any information to share. Let’s see if we can work together to figure out where these dolls come from.
Thank you for your help!
I’ll close out by sharing a photo of the very first global doll that I received while traveling. It was a goodbye gift from my first students, back when I was a private tutor for an American family traveling the world. This is a Tibetan doll bought in Northern India, in a town called McLeod Ganj, where the Dalai Lama lives. You can’t see in the photo, but under his hat, he’s got a long braid down his back.
When I look at this doll, I remember a time in my life that was full of growth and new opportunity. I remember drinking chai tea while listening to the Dalai Lama’s teachings. I remember watching dancers at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), and roaming that Himalayan town looking for new types of birds. When I look at this doll, my heart is full of all sorts of memories.
I can only imagine what kinds of stories each of these other dolls holds. Please help me and my students start putting the pieces together.