Today we met first thing at the school to discuss our ideas with the faculty and administration. As we shared our ideas for each student at the school we brainstormed together on possible ways to implement some of our ideas. The faculty and administration seemed really receptive and had some great ideas, questions, and comments. We were careful to reinforce that the employees at the school know the students best and that these were mere suggestions. We also discussed that these ideas were meant to be a spring board. I was sad to leave the school and the students.
One particular moment (there were many) that stood out to me today was when I was singing hello to one of our students. I decided to change the words of my hello and goodbye songs to Swahili. Wow! What a difference! Though the students seemed familiar with some English, translating to Swahili made all of the difference to this student.
In addition to being cognizant of the language, I was careful to be mindful of the culture. When using songs, I changed many words to reflect what is common in this culture. For instance, “We’ll all have chicken and dumplings when she comes,” became “We’ll all have beans and rice when she comes.” Just simple changes can make a big difference to the clients. I really enjoyed getting to know these students, the faculty, and administration.