Saturday 8/5- The infamous Ambrose Academy Tea…. This is one aspect of our trip that has been talked about since the early stages of planning and man-oh-man did it live up to its name. Members of the Ambrose Trust, teachers from Ambrose Academy, parents of children attending Ambrose Academy, and their brilliant children filled the banquet hall dressed in their finest evening attire. Tables were set with beautifully stitched black runners and vibrant center pieces that held a multitude of flowers. We were ever so lucky to have the privilege to sit at the front tables and to be recognized as one of the guests of honor for the evening. The night began with thanks and offerings of appreciation to those that have joined them this evening, to those who had made donations to the trust, and even to us the, Ohio University students and faculty, for donating our time to this academy. But, it wasn’t until about midway through this event that I realized just what we were helping to accomplish not only in this city/country, also been in our country. Having a child with developmental disability can come as a shock or as an unexpected circumstance to any parents and may at first seem like a daunting task and not just a blessing. To some in Botswana, having a child with developmental disability is deemed as an unsurpassable circumstance in which their children are not able to have close to a normal life. What the partnership between Ohio University and Ambrose Academy is trying to accomplish is an understanding that having a child with disability is not and “end of life” sentence for that child and family, but rather a sentencing for a unique and joy filled life with the same opportunities as any other child may have with the help and support from their parents, teachers, families, and friends. Every child has a purpose; every human being has a purpose. I hope to bring some of their inspiring thoughts and ideas, back to the states with me and help to instill parents of children with disabilities that these differences should not limit them from completing tasks and enjoying life, but rather enable them to accomplish all of their goals.
At the Ambrose Academy Tea, we were not only blessed with the ability to hear inspiring stories from parents with children with developmental delays, but we were also able to provide education on how to use technology to compliment educational activities and how to prevent the less beneficial aspects of technology. We were also able to display the standing frame that would be donated to Ambrose Academy and demonstrate how it is to be used, benefits of use, and when to use the standing frame. The entire tea was recorded for National Broadcasting purposes, and a little birdy told us that we all are now slightly famous in the Country of Botswana (do not worry, we did have pictures printed and we are willing to sign autographs at no cost to you J ).
Sunday 8/6- A trip to the Village…….Tribal songs, dances, and theatrical scenes met us as we arrived to the village early this morning. From the instant we stepped off the bus we were immersed in the cultural aspects of one of many tribes in Botswana. The day started with a song and dance that welcomed us to the Quotla (village) and a musical escort to the chief. Once we were seated in front of the chief we were welcomed with the tradition of the throwing of the bones. Many people in Botswana believe in the evil spirits associated with black magic and witch craft have and the throwing of the bones is said to show if the individuals visiting the tribe are of good spirit and pure intentions or if they are filled with evil spirit. Luckily the bones welcomed us. J We were taken through the cultural aspect of a traditional wedding and were able to visit the area where they house their domestic animals. The day ended with us learning how they prepared their traditional meal and then getting to eat the meal. Oh yeah… and I almost forgot the most important take away from the day…. If you are feeling a little under the weather, no worries, just stand on a pile of cow dung outside of your home until all the sickness leaves the body. I guess this is the real reason why manure smells so bad. J
Just a few days left…. I cannot believe this trip is coming to an end. Until next time, stay hungry, stay seeking, stay adventurous.