It has been a long day but a very interesting one. this morning was my first experience teaching in a kenyan-style class. it was definitely unique! the children are very eager to learn, but have limited english. they are overly interested about where i come from, and were so dissapointed when i told them i had not met Obama or Michael Jackson.
it is still difficult to figure out african time…we are so used to being punctual, but here everything is about an hour late. so i am trying to work on my flexibility.
this evening, after a lively game of rounders with the kids, we had a surprise visit from George and his family from the Star Disability School in Nairobi. George has cerebral palsy and autism, and his parents are trying to get LLK to sponsor his education.
we had a lengthy conversation about their situation and their concerns with George. the kenyan government provides no support whatsoever to families of kids with disabilities. there is also a lot of ignorance here about disabilities, so this brings a heavy stigma and sense of shame to the family when they take George out in public. they also do not have a lot of knowledge about working with George to help him with some of his issues. for example, when they brought him inside, he started screaming and trying to escape. his dad restrained him quite forcefully, which made George even more upset. i asked the father if i could try something…i did some deep pressure squeezes on George’s head and shoulders and he immediately calmed down and relaxed onto the couch. of course, this sparked a whole new conversation and i discovered that their normal reaction to George’s screaming and hitting is to tie his hands down. this is illegal in the US and really does no good for the child. so with a lot of explanation, i was able to give them some alternatives to this negative reinforcement. it was wonderful to be able to help George and his parents were so receptive and willing to do whatever it takes to help George have a good life. i think this type of parent is an exception here in kenya for children with special needs.