Monday, January 26, 2015

Our first week in Sandema!

At the beginning of our first week we introduced ourselves to CBR and started the first planning stages. Mid-week consisted of a number of meetings.  We paid a visit to the District Chief Executive  and informed him of the details of the programme with collaboration with ICS. He was very welcoming, which was not surprising considering he is a Ghanaian. He told us they were very concerned about social inclusion of children with disabilities and that they are willing to help us in any way they possibly can. This is, of course, good news to hear. He then introduced us to the District Director of Education and the Special Education Officer.
We were due for a meeting with the Special Education Officer, but because of what is commonly referred to round here as 'African time', we were sent away for an hour. Deciding to be resourceful with our time we popped over to the district health administration where we were able to gather some statistics for another project. When we finally went back for our meeting with the Special Education Officer, we still had to wait for another 45 minutes, which gave us a greater appreciation of 'African time'.  During this time, David led us to the cultural centre and we were awed by the skill and talent shown by the women weaving local cloths.
When the time for the meeting finally arrived, it consisted of ten, very sweaty, people crammed into a small, hot room. Despite the heat and all the sweat, he was still very helpful and gave us a great deal of relevant information.  He also shared a disturbing story about one headteacher that referred to children with disabilities as 'morons' and refused to teach any children with a disability; which demonstrates the scale of the task ahead. Towards the end of the week we settled down with the meetings and began to write up the schedule for the remaining time on our project and also finished writing up the proposal for the budget. We finished the week off by learning a bit more of the local lingo: we almost have the greetings down to a tee.   

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