Sunday, May 9, 2010

frustrations and sarah's pretty party

One of my co-workers, Christina, who is the special education teacher and is from America mainly works with Daudi who has severe autism and epilepsy and is non-verbal. She has been doing amazing things with him for the past two years. He is learning to communicate via signing because he is unable to speak and he is able to do things for himself and take control of his behavior (most of the time). Anyway, I was in her little classroom/office the other day and she has been trying to teach Daudi how to write his own name for a while and while I was in there I heard Christina shriek and I turned around to see that Daudi had written his name all on his own. Some of the letters were stacked on top of each other but he had all the letters there on the paper. It was awesome. He is the boy in the blue shirt in the pictures.
The rest of this week was pretty good but I got really angry at the children on Thursday. None of them would leave the health office and there was no other staff around to help me kick them out so I finally got them out by carrying the littlest ones and threatening the older ones. I had to lock them out of the room after I finally managed to get them out. I hate that Cassie is gone because without her the kids rarely get a chance to do anything creative or expressive. She was the art teacher and would also give them play time almost every day. We are unable to just leaves toys out for the children because they steal them and fight over them and may even try to sell them therefore all of the toys are locked up in the art room. Unfortunately, since Cassie left, the kids have only had ‘michezo’ which means play, a couple of times. This is really distressing to me because I truly feel that kids, especially children that have had so much trauma in their lives, need a way to express themselves and should have time to play everyday. I want to give them toys more often but I don’t have a lot of extra time and when I do it is difficult because I have to write down what everyone takes and make sure I get it back and the kids don’t listen to me very well especially if I do it on my own. I also get frustrated because more than anything these children need love and attention and I so badly want to provide them all with individual attention and make them feel like normal kids,
Anyway, on Friday, two of boys ran away. They were both in standard seven and doing really well in school…both very intelligent boys. It breaks my heart when these kids leave Amani and go back to the streets, especially when I don’t understand the reason behind it.
I was sitting outside under a tree with some of the boys today when one of them started telling me about his mother. He showed me a scar on his leg and explained that when he was younger his mother would drink a lot and she cut his leg with a knife…he said his mothers father would beat him with sticks and showed me a scar on his head, and he said that he ran away when his sister started to gang up on him as well. When I hear the stories of these children I understand why their behavior is so random and often moody. I can’t understand how parents could harm their children to that extreme…or at all.
So…about happier things…the owner of Hostel Hoff had a party at her house on Friday night for her 29th birthday. The theme was ‘Pretty Party – Formal Dress’ so we went to the second hand market, Memorial, and bought the most ugly prettiest dresses we could find (not that they were hard to find because there were tons of them). It was hideous…we looked disgustingly beautiful. We also got a painting of her made with a painting of the hostel. We all signed the back of the canvas. That should explain some of the above pictures.

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