Sunday, June 28, 2009

Day 4 (May 23) - Where the Wild Things Are

Today, Saturday, we returned to the child development center where we had been painting for the past 2 days. Today was the day when the children from the local village would be coming to be read to and play. Unfortunately all of the books we collected took longer to arrive than we anticipated and would get there after we had already left. However, we were also going to evaluate children with disabilities.
Only 2 children with disabilities arrived among the many other children. With the help of Felicia Annan to translate, Stacey, Susan and I evaluated Moses - a teen aged boy with lower extremity paralysis since infancy due to an injection. This would become one of many individuals we would see who claimed their dysfunctions were due to injections they had received. We speculated what this could have been and guessed that many of these children had had polio and the injection saved their lives, but damage had already occurred.
Moses arrived with his mother, who was dressed in her finest clothing and heeled shoes. He could barely walk but used crutches to compensate. We learned they had walked several miles to get to us.
Elizabeth, the second child that came to see us was suspected of having a mild form of Down syndrome.

Many of the school supplies that were generously collected for us by family friends were given to this center. As you can see by the picture above, we had a good time coloring with the children in the shade. Some of the coloring books had stickers in them and I soon learned that these are highly valued! I had to regulate the sticker distribution so that all the children got at least one. Some of us played ball, soccer and Frisbee with the children after we colored. However, the best part was when all the children performed their play for us. Led by a sassy older girl, the group performed “Where the Wild Things Are” for us. The play was fabulous! They had programs for us with the script on it, costumes and scene changes.
While the play was performed, the young girl pictured below sat snuggled in my lap. While many people would cringe at the thought of snuggling a warm body in the African heat, I cherished the moment.

That evening we had a seamstress come to our hotel to make dresses, skirts and shirts for us out of the fabric we had bought at the market.

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