Saturday, September 09, 2006

End of School Year Programs

The school year ends a little later here. Our end of year outing was August 1, and our closing program took place on August 3. (It’s just taking me a little while to write about it.)

A few months ago when I was back in the states to help out with some family things, I met a friend of my father’s at an Admiral Hockey game (yes, I believe Hockey deserves a capital “H”). He ended up making a donation “just to do something fun with the kids” from the deaf school at the end of their school year. So, in the middle of the rainy season, on a gray, cloudy – even chilly – day, we went to the beach.

There’s a beach that has a cement kind of sea pool and we thought this would be a good place to take 30 children – it could contain them, cut down on the chances of the undercurrents or waves washing them away, prevent them from straying a bit far. But after choosing this beach we began hearing stories of people being washed out and away from this pool. And then on July 26, Liberian Independence Day, many Liberians were at another beach and a little boy drowned. Some apprehension set in, but we went cautiously ahead with our plans when the overcast day arrived.

So many people here live next to the ocean and never enter it, never have any idea that it is salty, have no idea how a wave feels against their bodies - or even how it is to walk with the sand between your toes and pumicing your heels. I always feel privileged when I get to discover the beach and the ocean again while with someone who is experiencing it for the first time.

In spite of the overcast, chilly morning and the rainy afternoon, it was the kind of day my father’s friend wanted us to have.

Two days later we had our end of year graduation/promotion ceremony. Parents and other invited people always leave in awe at not just the performances the kids do but at seeing their children laughing, communicating, behaving, listening to their teachers, and acting like any other children. Many parents have no idea that their deaf children can do the things they do. Many have no idea that they can interact with others in meaningful ways and express themselves. We can put on an incredibly disorganized program (and this closing ceremony had it’s fair share of ill-prepared moments), but the families and others attending always leave surprised and praising what they have seen.


At 4:12 AM, Blogger p-mami said...

i absolutely LOVE reading all you have to share!!!!

i want to be there with you so badly!

i hope all is well with the women's well as the kids and teachers in the school for the deaf! hope they're utilizing the materials!

sending my love!



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