Monday, November 23, 2015

Katie shares her experience, working and making new friends...

Okay so I have never written a blog before or anything for other people to see other than exams and essays at school, I’m going to give it my best shot. I decided that i wanted to concentrate on friendship in this blog because I think that is one of the most important elements in our team.  I say this because as the inclusion team we are all about building friendships. With the partners we work with, our other team members and the people we work with, trying to promote their rights and prove to a not so understanding society that everyone can be included.

So this week we have actually had a slightly less hectic one which is nice, we work with various partners so it means we always have multiple different workshops going on and things to plan.  On Tuesday the team I am in was working with the Best Buddies group on Whatsapp, how to use it and keep yourself safe. Unfortunately I had a clinic visit so I wasn't there the entire time but for what I was present for we began talking about Whatsapp and adding each other so we can all keep in touch. It's a big factor in the workshops we do involving social media, highlighting that even when this cohort is over that we can all keep in touch with all the people we have worked with.

On Wednesday it was my groups turn to give the mural at Aprecia another go, try and push to get it done. It has taken a lot longer that what we thought it would but I am glad that we have taken our time because now it is starting to really come together. I may be biased but it is looking really good. It's great seeing the children’s reactions each week as we get closer and closer to finishing it, there is one boy in particular who just wonders up to us every so often and inspects our work, then gives an approving smile. We started adding the textures to it so that those of the children who have vision impairments are still able to interact with it. So that everyone can be included. Even though we have not done a lot of direct work with the children in Aprecia we have still made friendships and it’s a great feeling to be greeted with a huge smile and hug every week.

On Thursday it was our usual visit to the CBA with Lurañani to help sell the biscuits they make. Out of all our partners I feel the one most centered around friendship is Lurañani. To walk into a room where there is a group of mainly boys and see them all getting along and helping to make and package up the biscuits, each doing their own little bit. I just love it. It not only teaches friendship but a skill that they can use to mould a career from. Not only do they make the biscuits but they also sell them throughout the week, we join them once a week. Some on them need encouragement but once they have been given it, they're off selling biscuits grabbing anyone attention they can. Baking is quite often seen as a feminie thing to take part in but seeing a group -which include teenage boys- men taking pride in what they produce reminds everyone of the reason why they are here in Bolivia.

In summary we may not go down in history for achieving the most any charity has before but the fact is we are making friends here. To me friendships has a great value. When you are sitting with some of the people you work with and they have told you that they have enjoyed the workshop you have planned for them it’s a pretty good feeling. For everyone persons attitude that we have managed to change or each person’s life we have improved simply by becoming another friend, then that’s a victory in my eyes. It may only be a small number of people that we are able to reach out to and help in the three months we are here but its people that wouldn’t have had opportunities before. No person is insignificant and should ever feel excluded from society and living a fulfilling life.  Everyone deserves friendship.

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