Tanzania Entry 5 - Autism Awareness

Tanzania Entry 5


tanzania_5Did I ever mention that the Dadas (teacher assistants) don’t speak English? Two of the new teachers don’t speak much either and do not let us know when they are not understanding what we are saying. They are wonderful people and very good with the children. The teachers help translate but we definitely have had some communication breakdowns.

We sent them home on Wednesday with an assignment – think of an idea for a work task, which we were going to make on Thurs. They all came the next day with homemade toys. The toys are wonderful! I took a picture of everyone with the toy they made to show you when I get back. On Thursday all of the staff circulated through to see how Ava and Alia were teaching work systems. They were impressed that their most challenging students were in one spot for the whole 20 minute time period (we combined work with PECS and some 1 to 1). After school, everyone got to work on making tasks and 16 were made by the time we shoved them out the door at 5:30.

Today we went to Alia’s house for swimming – Friday again. I sent the kids home with Tootsie Roll pops. Very cute, a van full of children with sticky suckers. I am sure the driver is wishing he had never seen a Tootsie Roll pop about now. After the children left, I did training on the next steps for PECS and everyone practiced the correction procedure. I think they’ve got it! tanzania_5_2

Did you get the invitation to the big event? Invitations have been sent out to everyone they can think of for the big event next Saturday. Kari is the main speaker for the Autism Awareness event. The staff, one of the parents and Dr Abbas are also speaking. Then there will be a question/answer session. Kari put together an adorable presentation using photos of the children taken this week.

tanzania_5_3Now for our social life. Salma whisked me away on Thursday to get our bus tickets for Lushoto and then I indulged in a neck massage. My neck has seized up with all the bumpy roads and long, intense days. The therapist took it on as a challenge and did wonders. I think I am in love with her! After school Salma took us to arrange for our lodging inn Lushoto. We were invited to a family dinner at her niece’s new house. It was pretty funny, once again. Picture any large extended family celebration in a small space. Then imagine two middle aged women from another county who don’t speak your language smack dab in the middle. Everyone was so engaged that Salma did not think to translate for us. We smiled, nodded and ate. From where we sat it looked very much like any extended family event. One of the toddlers grabbed Kari’s legs instead of his mothers and when he looked up and saw her looking down at him, he burst into tears, poor babe. Home to Salma’s for hot showers, toilet paper, AC for the night and a homemade breakfast in the morning.

Anyway, our work is done. We take off on a bus for Lushoto at 9 tomorrow morning. We treated ourselves to an air-conditioned bus for the 5 hour trip. We have some hiking, cultural tours and a visit to a university that has just started a special education program, lined up for the next 5 days. Everyone tells us how cold it is in the Northern Highlands. We can’t wait!

I apologize for not sending more pictures. We only have dial up service and it really takes so much valuable time that I have not had. Perhaps when we get to Lushuto, I will have some time to send a few. tanzania_5_4

Kwai Heri,

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