We had our Oasis Christmas Party on Thursday night. Debbie invited all the students, teachers, and teachers’ spouses over to her house. The staff brought goodies, and about 50 or 60 people with varying levels of English crowded into one small room and chatted away.

It’s not unusual for students to give gifts to their teachers. I’ve been given a Mauritanian drum, a bright yellow purse shaped sort of like a banana but with metallic accents, white shoes with 4-inch heels, and a framed olive-tree-like piece of art. Sometimes, students buy gifts for my children.

Tom, who’s about 50, taught a beginner’s class this term. As one of his students was leaving, she handed him a wrapped parcel. “Part of it is for you and part of it is for your wife,” she explained. The student had never met or even seen Tom’s wife, but it was nice of her to think of both of them.

He opened it after all the students had gone. It contained a satchel for him and, for his wife, a pink lacy bra-and-panties set!