The itenary for this trip had a few set days, one of the being a visit to the school for the blind. I was actually very excited for this. The opportunity to talk, mess around with students sounded fun, however i was also very interested to see how what some might refere to as “less fortunate”live. On the day sally received an email saying that as there had been exams the majority of the students had gone home, so only a few of the older students were left. This wasn’t an issue though we would happily spend time with whoever.
MY first shock was how different society is out side of the madina, it wasnot poverty stricken like inside the wall .There seem to be Luxury condos , expensive shops and a lot less tradition coats and clothing. The streets were wider and filled with more cars than bikes. AS we pulled in to the school it also occurred to all of us that these children from a very young age to young adult live on site. As beautiful as the place was they would spent most of their time there.
We were welcomed and shown to a small sitting room where we just about fitted in, slowly a few students trickled in to the room where they started to talk to us. Admittedly we were all quite shy and didn’t really know how to respond. The difficulty was that only a few students knew enough English to properly communicate with us our French was shocking and Arabic none existent so communication was a bit difficult . As time passed we relaxed a little and communicateion was slightly easier but not great. IN the madina were talking to adults who have finished school where these children are still learning the languages. It sounds like im putting the blame on them im not, they are learning so much compared to i us and dont take it to granted wheres i only speak English and sarcasm . I think it was us who may not have been up to standard to meet with these students.
Chris who is fluent French helped us all and read/ acted out a poem and song. There were about about 8 students with us at the time and well they weren’t really interested in his story but it eased everyone up. After that a group of girl came in and performed for us. They sang used drums and other small instrments. IT was fantastic! It was clear to see that even though their eyesight may be impaired they are not at a loss. The happiness that they get from the music especially but sports maths, languages showed that they have a good quality of life. I may not be the most musical but my lack of talent made them laugh and i couldnt ask for anything more.
There were points where some of the girls felt a little uncomfortable as some of the male students were showing some interest in especially the blond girls.There were a lot of photos being taken and some uncomfortable questions , however by that point in the week we had learnt to just ignore it .
The expirience was very mixed there was a difficult language barrier, none of us knew what to expect we probably felt pity to begin with. But after talking to them hearing them sing i found that on the compound they feel safe cared for they learn and have friends that understand them and support them. The head master gave a speech in English which was not one of his main languages, he talked about how honoured they were to have the tradition of our student going every year, which brought a tear to most of our eyes. Instead i felt honoured to be welcomed in to their school and see how they live and work and how much harder they work than me. To see what they accomplished and how they taken their life into their own control and found a way to live incredibly happy and well. The are certainly not less fortunate.