| October 9, 2017 |
– From August 19, 2017 in Tanzania, Africa –
As this was our last day with the teachers of Step-by-Step Learning Centre, we had a lot to wrap up! We needed to review all the information we already taught, and plan for the future together. We spent the morning organizing donations, amending exercise programs, and answering as many questions as we could. Our afternoon consisted of bonding over Fanta soda, eating chicken biryani, and walking the streets of Arusha with the most inspiring group of people I’ve ever been close to.
Congratulations, Step-by-Step Learning Centre staff on your successful completion of the “Gross Motor Evaluation Workshop”!
What We Taught
Oh my, did we do a lot today! Not only did we wrap up everything we had learned, but we addressed new material and any unanswered questions we could. We reviewed all the developmental positions we’ve discussed throughout our course: tall kneel, half kneel, quadruped, supine, prone. Thank you, Meaghan, for demonstrating an awesome tall kneeling facilitation!
The issue of changing Bryson during the school day came up, as the teachers mentioned it sometimes takes 20 minutes to change his diaper. We demonstrated 2 different ways to change him, and also reviewed an excellent way to pick him up. Thanks for being Bryson, Lo! : )
Lo also used her awesome set of pens to make artistic descriptions of a lot of material we had covered this week! Margaret is working on laminating information we’ve shared to put on bulletin boards in the classrooms!
We thanked each other for the passion, the heart, and the knowledge that was shared under the roof of SSLC in presentation of certificates to each other. We gave each of the staff members at SSLC a certificate of course completion for “Gross Motor Evaluation Workshop,” and the SSLC staff in exchange presented us we certificates to thank us for our contribution. It was so deeply meaningful…
What We Learned
I’m going to be selfish here and make this the “What I Learned” section, because I can’t quite speak for my colleagues on this one. Today, I kept feeling a zoom out from the process of teaching. I kept seeing all the students before me: both the staff at SSLC and the students from Stony Brook University. I was feeling a new level of pride and success. I saw people effortlessly learning from each other, engaging in challenging discussions, and sharing ideas. I saw four students from the United States connecting on scholastic, emotional, and cultural levels with a group of people they had just met five days ago. I saw how we were interdependent on each other in so many beautiful ways. This level of connectivity was a web of inspiration, and it was all unraveling in my brain as I tried to come up with the words to say “Thank You.”
All of our lives’ paths led us to this same location. I don’t just mean the physical location of Step-by-Step, but more so the location within ourselves, within our hearts. Our passion and desire to learn bound us together, and we were learning through humble reciprocity. Each of us in the room came from an entirely different story, yet we found common grounds to connect and grow as a unit.
This trip would not have happened, if it hadn’t been for the enthusiasm of Stony Brook students to embark on this mission.
The Stony Brook students wouldn’t have been here, if it weren’t for the support of their faculty, family, friends, and loved ones.
The support came in waves of different magnitude, and whether it was monetary or emotional, they all accumulated to provide an ocean by which the students could travel to Tanzania.
The knowledge of Tanzania’s need for PT services couldn’t exist without EduTours Africa and the pioneers of the Physical Therapy volunteer program from Northwestern University.
The ability to provide PT services wouldn’t exist without our education through DPT programs, clinical experience, nor the profession itself.
The decision to use these skills to provide a worldwide service wouldn’t exist without curiosity and the desire to contribute to a greater cause.
We would not be here if it weren’t for SSLC being established in the first place.
SSLC wouldn’t exist without the struggle Margaret went through with her daughter, Ruth.
SSLC wouldn’t exist without the passion to persevere, to find answers, to provide for children in need.
SSLC wouldn’t exist without the kindness of others to support its cause, whether it be through sponsorship of students, financial grants, volunteer work, or employment.
SSLC wouldn’t exist without belief in God, in the divine right for these children to be included, to prosper, to learn, to grow.
SSLC wouldn’t exist without the children with special needs, who needed a home – a safe house to learn when the culture says they should, instead, be isolated.
SSLC wouldn’t exist without the smiles, laughs, and joy of the children, who are the beating heart of the school.
I also learned that the learning was not complete. In fact, it probably never will be. Why? The SSLC staff would continue to practice the skills they learned, and formulate more questions for future courses. The staff will read, study, and base their learning on their experiences with the students. The Stony Brook students would continue to process what they gave during this trip, and bring home lessons on cultural competence and PT services. Lastly, I knew I’d continue to grow in my knowledge, as I started feeling increasingly curious about how to effectively help and facilitate lasting changes in a poverty-stricken country. I wanted to make sure we were creating a program and providing a service that would be sustainable. I knew there was not only more to teach, but a lot of self-study in my future.
“Education is not the filling of a pot but the lighting of a fire.”
– W.B. Yeats –
Photo of the Day
We were presented with a plentiful gift of avocados from Rogathe’s backyard today! Eating organically and locally in Tanzania isn’t difficult at all when you have massive avocados growing wildly…
Laugh of the Day
We enjoyed a lovely afternoon eating at The Grill House – the restaurant in Arusha who provides our lunch box meals each day! Our group sat outside the restaurant, sharing chicken biryani “family style.” But, we didn’t get there without a challenge! Peter’s EduTours vehicle had some difficulties during the week with starting, and today it didn’t want us to leave the parking lot at Step-by-Step! The battery was DEAD as can be, and we attempted jumping the car… with homemade jumper cables, compliments of Peter and Francis! It was quite interesting to watch them come up with a system, but I wasn’t entirely surprised when they didn’t work…
Oh, also, Meaghan got hit by a banana leaf at the parking lot of The Grill House. Right after she said she didn’t have a headache anymore. She may have yelped… just a little! Thanks for the laughs, girls.