Monday, November 25, 2013

We are reaching a comfortable plateau

Week 9- We are going back to school

“School's out for summer, schools out forever…no more pencils, no more books”
School’s Out- Alice Cooper

The first BIG announcement to make is that we have NOT lost any more members of our team! That’s right folks, we began the week with 4 and we completed the week with 4, it is something when that is an achievement.
            Concerning our activities this week…we seem to have finally settled into a routine which is great but it does mean that there really isn’t that much for me to write about. We are as ever continuing with our coaching and sports sessions which means that the team are working 7 days a week. The residents at ARCHE are becoming more and more proficient in boccia and the children at ABPAM are more accustomed to Zahra’s goalball drills. Aside from our other weekly commitments, we also started running session with the children at CEFISE who are deaf or have auditory impairments. Nicté designed the session and she was addressing the need for ‘essential balance and coordination’ among young children, which resulted in a lot of standing on one leg and balancing balls on our heads. The only problem for me was that my own balance is pretty shocking and I hadn’t realised quite how poor it was until I started running the activities with my group and ended up wobbling everywhere. It was less a demonstration and more of an education in how NOT to do it; the children found me hilarious however so at least I gave them something.
            On Tuesday all the UK volunteers, national volunteers and the team leaders took a trip to a private school in Ouaga named ‘Lycee Leaders de Demain’ to explore the possibility of a partnership with the International Service. It was an enjoyable visit and we were made to feel very welcome. It then transpired that our team would be presenting 2 talks to their students on Wednesday and Friday. The talk on Wednesday went really well and we have some great reflective feedback from our taster sessions in goalball, running and shot-put about what it would be like to live with a disability. When we were asking the students to operate without their sight, they were at first very reluctant and there was definitely some cheating going on but they soon got into the spirit of the game and seemed to take a lot from the experience. On Friday it was Andrew and Zahra’s turn to discover the delights of Bobo and so Nicté and I were left to deliver the presentation and taster session to 60 young people! It was a bit of a logistical nightmare to cater for that many people, especially during the taster sessions but it was organised with military precision and my timetable was adhered to beautifully. All in all, the talks have been a resounding success. 

            2 working weeks remain and no one can quite believe how quickly the time has passed. What are we going to do when we no longer wake to the sound of a cockerel crowing at 5:30am each morning or when we can fall asleep without the sound of a metal fan clicking with each revolution above our heads? I for one have no idea how strange it will be to be back in the UK but nor do I feel ready to find out!!

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