Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pampered Princess

I am now in Livingston at the Protea hotel. We arrived on Saturday and will be leaving on Monday. I've managed to go on a breakfast cruise, have high tea at the Royal Livingston hotel, go on a safari, and hat ve done lots of bargaining at the shops! I have had the best time! On my safari this afternoon I saw water buffalo, a leopard, impala, storks, hippo's, elephants, giraffe, and a African eagle. What a neat experience this trip has been! Anyway, I will be waking up for morning breakfast tomorrow, so I am going to get some rest. Goodbye for now and I will keep you all updated. :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hello and Goodbye!

This week was my last week of therapy with the children and babies at the Havens. It was difficult leaving them today knowing that I would not be seeing them again. All of the children were so cutely dressed and just getting up from their naps. I made my way into all of the Havens (Havens 1, 2, and 3) playing one last time with the kiddos and then saying my goodbyes. All of the children have made so much progress and are doing so well. I have noticed that the children are now stringing sounds and words together while others are starting to talk. Some of the babies are starting to roll over, suck a pacifier, sit up, have tummy time while keeping their head up, and are able to smile. Other babies have met a lot of these goals and are starting to babble more often. Teagen, one of the kiddos is starting to crawl while Megan is sucking on a pacifier. Before Megan would not put anything in her mouth and Teagen did not interact and/or smile during play. Sidney is starting to sit up independently while Shelby, her sister is starting to babble. All the children and babies are doing fabulous! Today Katherine, Kaylee, Caroline and I made props/materials for the aunties when providing care to the children and babies. We cut out flowers for the girls and stars for the boys. On each flower petal and/or star triangle there are developmental milestones that the aunties get to color each time a child/baby meets a new goal. For feeding time, I and the other girls cut out bottles listing how to feed each child. The paper cut-out bottles were placed in each room near the changing table. It was nice to have an education session for the aunties so when we leave the aunties will continue to help the children with language enrichment and feeding. What a wonderful, but sad time. We all said our last hellos and goodbyes. The last person I got to visit with was Gwembe. He has made incredible progress as well. He is now starting to use more English with Tonga. He is following 2-step directions, answering yes/no questions, and is naming colors. Elvis, his one on one helper said that he would continue to work with Gwembe. Before saying my final goodbye I was able to give Gwembe some tennis shoes, pens, school supplies and I gave Elvis a hat. Gwembe was all smiles when I had him try on the shoes. I asked him to name what they are (shoes) and their color. With some prompts/cues he was able to answer my questions. I took lots of pictures and hope to hear from Roy and Elvis in the future on how Gwembe is dong. I hope that Gwembe will have more opportunities to go to school and find a job where he can feel good about himself and his strengths. Everyone has strengths we just need to find them and focus on the positives!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Life and Death

For the first time I got to participate in a burial, and a barbeque on Mt. Jordan. The burial was very sad because one of the babies whom I had the privilege of working with had passed. Her name was Kelly who was 6 months old when she died and was considered a medically fragile baby. Kelly was born pre-mature, and was not eating well. There were lots of concerns about Kelly amongst the other students including myself. The last time I saw Kelly was in language group. She was very pail looking and her eyes looked like they sunk into her face to the point where the bones around her eyes were showing. Kelly apparently was brought to the hospital in Kolomo and had died they very next day. A burial service took place today on 06/09/2010. All of us grieved as we saw her body taken in a small casket to an isolated, but pretty area underneath a tree. We all said a prayer as we watched the tiny casket being lowered into the ground and covered with dirt. It was a sad time. So much life and so very young, but may she find peace. I found it very interesting that in Africa they do not say funeral instead they refer to it as a burial. People do not get dressed up to attend a funeral, nor do they wear black. They often wear casual garb such as a chi tangy. In Africa they do not morn the way we do when they see a person exit the world. Instead they treat death as though they will see that person again, so they come as they are. After the burial all of the girls including myself attended a birthday celebration. It is strange, yet interesting to celebrate life and death in the same day, and that is what we did. The birthday celebration for Ian, Dr. Tulles’s son went beautifully. We all drove to Mount Jordan in Kacky Jackie which is where we had a barbeque with guacamole, salsa, hot dogs, and smoors. Yummy! We even played music to “The Circle of Life” as Dr. Tulles lifted his son up into the air on Mt. Jordan like they do in the Lion King. It was pretty funny. We got a lot of pictures taken. It is not every day that someone in the States can say they had this sort of agenda. You truly learn to appreciate everything about Africa and take the bad with the good. There are so many good things to focus on in life and that is what we must take into account.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

"Peter and the Lost Boys"

Today I worked in Havens one, two, and three In Haven Three I was in the boys room. Everyone calls them the "Lost Boys." There is Peter, Ross, Jack, and Shawn who are the little talkers. I came into their room and read them stories while singing some songs. Peter had on a bright pink, yellow and white jacket which reminded me of something from a Jane Fonda video. He definilty looked like a product from the 80's. Today he said, "dog", "more", and "bye". Shawn is also talking a lot these days and Jack is starting to imitate more. Ross wore his Elmo sweater and helped turn the pages in one of the stories I read. Everytime I walk into their room the four boys greet me with their sweet smiling faces. Enclosed are some pictures of the boys.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It has been an eventful week filled with language enrichment activities for the children and adult I have been seeing. The four of us girls- Marja, Rachael, Jamie and I all have succeeded in establishing a routine for the children to follow. The kids are clearly getting accustomed to the routine. They will often sing transitional songs once an activity has been completed. When doing classroom activities the babies and children are able to identify some of the animals and the noises they make. For example, pig says “oink, oink, oink.” They know once we have talk about an animal when it is time to say, “hello” and when it is time to say, “bye” while imitating gestures such as hand waving during language activities. I am hearing a lot more utterances from the children, a lot more inflection in their voices, and a lot more social engagement with other children and infants. For some of the kiddos I have noticed they are using more eye contact, object permanence, and means end skills. During my time working at the Haven I have been able to witness many new developmental milestones being accomplished. The children that were not talking are now starting to talk and thrive. The adult I’ve been working is also meeting many milestones. Gwembe, is starting to imitate words and phrases and because he knows a lot more Tonga than English he has been coming with a one on one named Elvis who is able to translate. Gwembe is following 1-2 step directions and is starting to learn yes/no questions. Continuous repetition is needed for him to understand yes/no questions. He is doing a great job and seems to be making great progress. I feel like this means a lot to Gwembe as it seems he was not given many chances in his earlier years. Living in Africa has gotten me to realize how different are beliefs are compared to children with special needs in Africa. I feel I'm making a big difference while educating others with and without differences. I too have learned a lot from these individuals and have to say that what I've learned has made me stronger as a person and prospective SLP. Working at the Havens and at Eric's house has been a truly rewarding experience for me.