Monday, November 25, 2013

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!

Week 8- We are limbering up for the Special Olympics

“All the small things, true care, truth brings, I’ll take one lift, your ride, best trip, always I know you’ll be at my show, watching, waiting, commiserating”
All the Small Things- Blink 182

We are 2 months into our 3 month placement and as other teams are looking to create handover documents and finalise projects, our team is increasingly in demand and the work (and drama) just keeps on coming.
            Along with attending our regular coaching sessions at ASSB, ABUSHIS and HSB, we also started working with ARCHE this week to deliver boccia and sitting volleyball sessions. The residents at ARCHE have intellectual and motor disabilities and so we have been working to create adaptive sport sessions that cater to their needs. They responded with enthusiasm and overwhelming gratitude to the exercises, it was so nice to see and we are all looking forward to returning next week with more drills and games. As I mentioned in last week’s blog we have also begun coaching goalball at ABPAM with children who are blind or visually impaired. It is incredible to see their level of auditory perception as they listen for the bell in the ball and block it before a goal is scored.
            We were also finally given the opportunity to deliver one of our talks; we revisited the AMPO orphanage and worked with young girls at the MIA site. The presentation was a great success; the girls were really receptive to what we had to say and were unafraid to answer our questions and they seemed to particularly enjoy the sensory perception games. After the talk we ran a taster session with them in a couple of paralympic sports and just as we were packing our equipment away to leave, the girls spontaneously burst into song, it was absolutely beautiful and such a gift. We have unanimously agreed that is was by far our best working day to date and hopefully we will have more opportunities in the remaining few weeks to work with more schools and clubs, so watch this space.
            I had a 4 day week and left with the Research Team and a few other UK volunteers for a long weekend in Bobo. However, the rest of the team continued working and on Friday and Saturday they attended the Special Olympics unified football tournament at the René Monory stadium. Our very own Andrew and Stanley competed as part of the ARCHE team but despite winning 1 match and drawing in the other 3, they were unable to qualify. I am assured that the team played really well and William was “on form” as goalkeeper, Andrew said ‘I enjoyed the competing with the ARCHE players a lot and it was a really good experience to play in a unified football competition’.

            As for the aforementioned “drama”, Denis and Roland announced this week that they had both found new jobs and would therefore be leaving in the following days. Their contracts as national volunteers with the International Service were due to expire at the end our 3 month placement but they have found suitable jobs a little earlier than expected. We wish them all the best as they pursue new career opportunities but it is sad to see them leave. When we came to Burkina Faso we were a team of 7 people and now we are down to just 4, but we will continue working and we hope to make the most of the time remaining to us. 

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