This morning I took Ellie Jo and Juba on a field trip to the Gahanga Center for Disabled Children. We joined Jacob’s 5th graders interacting with about 12 children and adults as well as meeting the Sisters who run the center. It was amazing to watch my little ones calmly navigate the situation.
Rwandans are typically very afraid of dogs so I was a little bit nervous about what kind of reaction Juba would receive. I shouldn’t have worried. As soon as I walked into the room one of the girls noticed Juba and made eye contact with me – clearly asking me to bring him over. She reached out to him and tentatively gave him a pat, then squealed with excitement. Juba just sat there quietly. He continued to sit quietly when one boy started pulling his tail and pinching his toes. That impressed all of the Sisters.
Ellie Jo was just happy to have finally found Jacob and seemed generally curious about the whole situation. Jacob helped her to say hi to some of the kids in wheelchairs. She spent a lot of time on the floor with the craft supplies. She and the kid pictured here threw handfuls of beads on the floor and then she helped to put the beads back on paper plates so that her new friend could throw them around again.
I don’t really know what kind of impact we had on those kids. I am glad that Rwanda doesn’t hide their disabled and that we were able to visit, but it is still hard to know what to do for kids like that. We just brought a whirlwind of activity and then left. I think it was a good experience for Jacob’s class and I’m interested in hearing their feedback.
And maybe I should look into therapy training for Juba.