Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010: Another Day at Casa Maria and Spanish…

The mornings are livelier at Casa Maria. I saw this when I went there for observations with the Practice Group for the first time. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that the people were more awake, or if there was more life in the place because the OT students had things for them to do. The fact is that I haven’t really seen the residents do much of anything other than sit, stare, and chat with each other on occasion. No one engages in “occupations.” Honestly, I stopped looking forward to my visits because the place was so boring and my role is to observe. I already saw the people sitting, so what else was there to do?

So this morning was a welcome change of pace. I watched the residents engage in an exercise class and I was surprised at the people who attended it- not at all the people I expected. Then the OTs had the residents make guacamole together… everyone helped cut tomatoes, onions, squeeze lime, and mash avocados. One woman spread the guacamole on tortilla pieces and everyone wanted to taste it. So many people helped out and the residents loved eating it. I was thrilled to see the residents so eager to participate, yet sad at the same time because it appeared that they craved activities of any kind, there’s just very little in place for them to do.

I switched my Spanish classes back to afternoons so I can go to Casa Maria in the mornings now. When I arrived, I was pleased to see that my teacher also switched so we can keep learning together. I made her come with me and a group of students to a wheelchair basketball game at a local college, which required a 15-minute walk in the rain. We saw Guatemala vs. El Salvador… I’m not sure who won, or even what the rules were, I was too busy examining each player and what their individual abilities were.

It was my Spanish teacher’s first time seeing anything like it, so I was trying to explain some of the logistics of how the guys were able to function. For example, one man had 2 prosthetic arms (the hooks), and no legs, but he was able to push his wheelchair, so I was explaining to my teacher how his arms worked. We practiced Spanish as we discussed what we thought the rules were, asked each other what we thought about it, other sports we like to watch… so many things! It was nice to be able to teach her something too, since it always seems to be me in the student role.