During our time in the Mara, we spent time at a Selel Primary School. This school has 145 students from neighboring tribes and villages. One of the boys who attended the school was 7 years old and was in the nursery class. His name is Leposo and he has special needs. He is a very happy little boy and although he doesn’t speak, he loves to laugh and play.
The teachers at this school have no experience working with children with special needs. The head master even told his teachers Leposo should not be in school because he wasn’t learning anything. However, his teachers, Madam Diana and Madam Janet felt differently. They told him that having Leposo in school socializing with other children is better than having him stay at home playing by himself.
One of my teammates and good friends, Taylor, is the appretice for the Disabilites Ministry. We both were able to spend time with him. Our second day at the school, Taylor was able to spend one on one time with him all day. She was able to get to know him and his behaviors.
After playing chase and patty cake with Leposo the day before, I asked our leader, Kaylie, to change our plan sfor VBS. Well, more like decided to change the plans. Luckily, Kaylie said yes!
I had written the story for our puppet show and chosen bible verses for VBS months ago, but after meeting Leposo I wanted to revolve the story around him. Our new story was about a small boy who was in need of help from someone who was bigger and stronger then he was. At the end of the story, Taylor brought Leposo into each class. We told the children that even though Leposo learns slower than they do, they all need to be patient with him and help him. The craft changed from writting their names to writting words of encouragement.
The new verse for the day was Matthew 25:15, which is also the theme verse for the Disablities Ministry. “…each was given according to their ability.”
The next day Taylor and I were able to have a parent/teacher conference. We met Leposos’s mother and we were able to come up with a simple lesson plan for them to be able to communicate with Leposo. His mother was so grateful that she gave the necklace she was wearing to Taylor.
That night Leposo stayed heavy on our hearts. We were just not satisfied with how we left the school. I remembered that I had brought my Polaroid camera with me and a billion light bulbs went off in my head! We created a sign lanuage chart using Polaroid pictures. We photographed our hands making each letter of the alphabet as well as commonly used words and pharses.
On our last day in the Mara, we went back to Selel Primary to give the chart we had made to Madam Diana. We sat with her and the rest of the teachers and taught them sign language. She was so thankful and appreciative for the work we had done for them. She even plans to teach the rest of the students sign language so they will be able to communicate with Leposo, too.
Taylor and I are planning on making more lesson plans and flash cards to send to Kenya to continue to help Madam Diana and Janet teach Leposo. I am so thankful to have been able to meet him.
I leave Kenya tomorrow and I couldn’t be more thankful for the people I have met and the experiences I have had here.
Asante Sana, Kenya….
Photography: Logan Cole