JUNE 8, 2011

Ethiopia Day 3: Tapping our Creative Juices

Posted by Jacklyn Kammerer, MS, OTR

Well, we've had an interesting 24 hours…

This blog was written on Tuesday evening (our time). But, it was quite a process getting it on to you. We typed up the post and went to send out…first we lost internet, then electricity, then hot water, then all water!  Thank goodness for the generator they use for meal time. Last night (Monday), we had a traditional dinner at the guest house, prepared by the wonderful kitchen staff.

After dinner, we put our heads together to plan the transition home in-service and orphanage visits.  We put together a rough outline for the in-service based on the observations and interviews we conducted.  We decided to wait for another full day of observation and immersion in the transition homes before going into too much detail.

We then got crafty and creative (as OT's naturally do), and spent the rest of the night making mobiles for the infant rooms in the orphanages. And, while we were yearning for a hole punch, staplers, hot glue gun, and glue sticks, we made do with the variety of supplies that came through the Embrace donation channels. Here are a few examples of a direct, tangible product of YOUR generosity!

Mobiles for Ethiopian Orphanage

All in all, we put together ten infant mobiles to scatter throughout the orphanage rooms.

By the way, we stayed up way too long making them, mostly because we got wrapped up in the creative process.

Today, (Tues) we spent more time at the transition home with the babies and toddlers. We had a great time with the nannies participating in group song and play.  It was so fun to watch the little ones try to dance to the African songs! What spirit!  Hopefully we can get the video up tommrow.

We brought out some ring stackers, peg board and pegs, shape sorter and cause and effect door opening toy. The kids did great with them, exploring how to put in, put them together, stack them, etc.  Part of the fun was probably just the novelty of our toys, too.

We gave bubbles to each of the nannies along with ourselves. The reaction from the kids was absolutely priceless. Hearing their giggles and excited shrieks – we didn't want it to end.

We spent time in the infant room and it just warmed our hearts to see how much the nannies loved the children. Their faces and voices were so animated and expressive.

We also ran a craft group. Here are some final products from the younger group. They were so proud to show us their work.

Stick crafts

The older children got even more creative with bead groups and drawings. How creative!

Making bracelets at ethiopian orphanage

Overall we had a productive and positive day at the home.  We chatted again with the staff to get a sense of what the in-service could and should look like.

Once we arrived back to our guest house, we worked to put the finishing touches on our in-service. We have to take many things into consideration: things that may get lost in translation, appreciating their value and use of time (much more loose and flexible compared to U.S. use of time), speaking to the medical team versus the nannies, prioritizing the most important information so as not to inundate the staff.

On Wednesday, we're slated for our presentation to the medical staff and some of the nannies. Stay tuned…

We appreciate your continued comments and prayers, and we will get a more up to date blog to you as soon as we can - and technology allows.

Selam (peace),
Angie, Brandi, and Jackie

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