Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010: Casa Maria, Transitions English Class & Dessert Party

This morning at Casa Maria we just spent with the people, hanging out and starting to prepare for the party on the last day. Ana Lydia pulled some of us aside and asked us to refrain from using the term “fiesta” when talking about the party tomorrow. She thought the residents were getting too excited and wanted them to not expect too much from us. We did plan to deliver on our “fiesta” though, since any sort of party we have would be more action then these people have seen in quite awhile.

Afterward, Peggy and the rest of the research crew (all 3 of us) headed next door to Finca Filadelfia, a coffee plantation/ resort that no one seemed to even know existed. We had frappacinos and walked around the beautiful grounds. It’s a stark contrast to the dreariness of Casa Maria and it’s right in the home’s backyard. I had pushed to be able to bring residents for strolls through the gardens there but nothing came of it. Hopefully in the coming year, the residents will be able to venture there.

At 4:30 pm, Devva invited me and a couple of others to a weekly English class that is held at the Transitions house. The guys come over after working at the factory and they learn basic conversational English. The Disabilities Studies team brought over pizza and pastries for their last day with the guys, and I just sat back and watched. It was interesting to hear the guys speak English the way that I speak Spanish. Finally I stopped feeling so bad for butchering their language because we were on a now level playing field.

Can I tell you the joy that I got out of hanging out with these guys? I guess from Casa Maria, I came to expect people with some sort of disability to be a little down, but these guys were joking, loving life, picking on each other, and just having fun. I loved that! I saw one guy move his legs and he was in a wheelchair so I pointed at it. He smiled and said it was a miracle. Then he told me he had polio when he was a kid and could walk little bits but preferred to use a chair. I felt a little silly really thinking a miracle could happen in front of me. Another guy with one leg invited me to watch him play soccer. When I asked how he was able to run around the field, he said he just can… I have to see that.

One of our missions as an OT is to help people live fulfilled lives, so I can’t tell you enough how amazed I am that these guys are doing that. They’re living with a disability, but they aren’t disabled by it. As a therapist, I feel like these guys have more to offer me than I could ever offer them… they’re just inspiring. I’m coming back next week with my friends so they can meet them.

As part of our final farewell, the NAPA-OT group hosted a Dessert Party at a beautiful hotel for us. Everyone in the field school came for a dessert bar of cakes, mousses, and coffee. It was so delicious. We followed it up with a piƱata in the shape of a clown which survived all of 4 people hitting it. We used the “torch” feature on our Guatemalan cell phones to light up the grass and find all of the candy. Afterwards, I snuck out since I’m not much for sappy goodbyes. I’ll see them all again soon.