India blog – day 1

I arrived here after an uneventful flight. I expected to sleep on the plane as I’m famous for being able to sleep through any amount of noise or light. I hadn’t bargained for how cold it would be on board! I was too cold to sleep, but excited enough on arrival that it didn’t really matter how tired I was.

S met me at the airport, expertly conducted me through the city traffic to the girls’ home and introduced me to E who runs it with her, and they made me very welcome. The home is in an unprepossessing building down a dusty track into a very crowded block of buildings – but once you step inside the door of the large apartment, it’s like an oasis of peace and light in the middle of a stressed-out city.

The girls (9 of them) came in from school between four and five pm, and I can tell you I’ve heard more giggling and jollity in one evening than previously in a month of Sundays. After a really delicious dinner cooked by the girls, I gave one of them an English lesson and was impressed at the high standard she’s expected to achieve, and the hard graft she was prepared to put in. With 11 names to learn and not having slept since Saturday, I think I’ve done reasonably well to have mastered 6 of them so far. Let’s see if I can still remember them in the morning!

Tomorrow I’ve been asked to see some of the school children who clearly have intellectual disabilities but whose problems have never been diagnosed. While not an expert, I do have some experience to draw on, both as a parent and a teacher, and they’ve asked me to assess each child, give my best opinion as to the nature of the disability, suggest strategies and resources that might help them, and set learning goals for them. I’m praying that some of the training I’ve prepared and brought might be appropriate as a help to the teachers.

On a personal note, despite smothering myself in a deet-based insect repellent, I’m being eaten alive, and if you want to pray for me, I would like it to stop!

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