Monday, October 20, 2014

a week in the life of Cheick!

Hello it's  Cheick
My second week on sight at L’Arche Nongr Massem is drawing to a close and I thought to write a summary of some of the activities we have been a part of.On Monday Callum and I went to the awakening centre, after an amusing sports session with all the staff and centre users. This is an educative section of Arche where we have been assigned to work this week. Organisation is not always a strength of the centre and at first it was confusing as we couldn’t find a staff member to answer our questions or allocate us a task. Nevertheless we provided them with our support during some basic activities.
On Tuesday, I went with Matt and Gerry to Saaba to coach another of our inclusive sports sessions. Even though we start early at 7:30am to avoid the heat, over 15 people with intellectual disabilities who live in the local community came to participate and we practiced some athletics and sports such as sprinting, target practice, boccia, and unified football. My favorite was the unified football as I really enjoy getting involved in a game and watching the characters of our athletes come out in the heat of the moment! By 10am, I was back in the office and set to creating a facebook page for Arche. By creating an online social media platform on such a popular social network we hope to promote the visibility of Arche and the amazing work they perform here.
On Wednesday we held another sports program at Arche, It was fun but after Saaba I noted that the athletes there were much more competitive and enthusiastic than those at Arche. I hope that over time we will liven up the energy levels here at Arche too. Again when we’d all finished I was back at the awakening centre with the users Luc, Asseta, Ami and Abdoul since they are those supposed to be there that day. We did some jigsaw puzzles and used the freshly painted blackboards to write on with chalk. This was very popular and I can imagine we’ll soon be out of chalk! My Project Manager Ross came in for the day and I had a conversation with him and the physiotherapist where we tried to think of the best way to care for the centre users, especially those who are scheduled to go to awakening centre as it’s in this section that they are the most dependent on other peoples help. In the afternoon, I prepared a template for fundraising.
On Thursday, I went to the awakening centre at 9:30 because all the centre users were held there till that time. I led Luc, Asseta, Marietta and Veronique there and we did some counting exercises, puzzle and letters. In the afternoon, I create a twitter account for l’Arche and I updated its facebook page.

Friday was my last day at the awakening centre as we rotate around the different sections of the centre on a weekly basis. It was definitely the most interesting day. Callum and I went at 8:30 with Judith, Luc, Benjamine and Aristide, a new user. It was the first time we stayed this long with doing one-on-one exercises such as numbers, letters and jigsaws puzzles.  Even the most hyperactive user Luc joined in and engaged, which was really rewarding as when we first started here we could not get him to concentrate for any length of time. We had one of the centre’s managers, who is called Janvier, assigned to the centre with us on that day and I was able to ask him lots of questions about the best way to implement our project plan and he also told me a lot about the history of Arche and how the centre runs on a daily basis, its administrative and managerial concerns etc.  In the afternoon after lunch I took part in an group discussion session with the rest of the team. It was about peace and conflict and was led, kind of like a seminar, by Callum and Gerard. It was interesting to listen to peoples different understandings of these terms, and the different conflicts which concern our respective countries, Burkina Faso and England. We also discussed how to implement our strategy concerning fundraising. It was a nice way to finish the week’s work ready for the big fundraising activity we had planned for the weekend.

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