Monday, August 18, 2014

Richard Here: Day Eight - Back To School

This morning I woke up nice and early so I could Skype with Valerie before she had to go to bed. She filled me in on the days activities and we talked about the boys and our visits. After saying goodnight I got ready for the day and took off on another long walk. This walk was devoid of many pictures because I was focused on timing the walk from the orphanage to the LDS building where the boys will take english classes one night a week. In order to do this, I had to first walk up to the orphanage (SZ is on the side of a hill that runs from south to north so east to west is flat but south to north is straight up the hill.) In the end, the walk takes about 25 minutes but it is an easy route and mostly devoid of cross-traffic.

This morning's visit was first dedicated to time with each boy individually, first Eli and then Jesse. Because I'm married to a brilliant woman, I came to SZ with a bag full of activities and I've been bringing one to each visit to help engage the boys and pass the time. This morning was LEGO day, and it was a hit.

Eli did well with LEGO time and we built a indy-style race car. He did very well at the building process and utilized skills including counting, color recognition, spacial awareness and receiving instructions. He was slower but more methodical in working with the pieces and it was a good opportunity to compare his fine motor skills between his left and right hands. He did not get overly frustrated and ultimately did a great job of assembling the car (see videos).

Jesse went second and also enjoyed LEGO time. He had worked with them before in the previous orphanage and he quickly got to work, grabbing the pieces and going to town. He was much faster, but he tended to skip the instructions more than Eli did. This opened the door for a brief discussion about his work in school and he admitted that he occasionally has to do work over again because he rushes through it (so he's pretty normal in that sense!) Jesse recognized pieces by shape and size alone and generally did not have to "count" the piece in order to ensure it was correct. This gave me a great change to take a look at his abilities with his right hand (he is missing most of his pointer and middle finger and part of the ring finger). He has learned to compensate very well and despite his limitation has good grip strength and tactile abilities even with his "stubs". Eli interrupted a few times because he was impatiently waiting for us to finish up.

After LEGO time the boys went upstairs to change so we could go on a walk and the psychologist asked us to go meet with the director. In our meeting the psychologist recommended that we no longer needed to be "escorted" on our visits with the boys so for the remaining visits we are on our own to do whatever we want to do (within reason :-P). We also discussed arrangements for English lessons and I will be inviting the missionaries to meet the director tomorrow so they can exchange contact information and work out details for when to meet, etc.

Once the boys got changed back into their favorite superhero shirts, we took off on a walk to see their school (school is not in session until 15 Sept.) which is only 200 meters from the orphanage. It was a plain grey building (most buildings are plain and grey) and you wouldn't know it was a school unless you walk around to the back of it (which is the front?) and see the sign for it. We played soccer and pretty much hung out until it was time to go (there's a funny video in which I try to tell them it's time to go eat lunch). On the walk back, the boys asked if they were allowed to share some candy I gave them and I told them they were welcome to, but if they wanted to share I'd be happy to go get something for everyone - they asked for cookies and I suggested ice cream - so we'll see what I come up with for tomorrow's lunch.

My time here in SZ is quickly running out but I'm enjoying the time with the boys. It's strange to feel like I've known them for so long yet they've only just begun to know me. Both Jesse and Eli are enthusiastic about their future but are also impatient about the paperwork that must be completed. Jesse is more understanding and seems to go with the flow but Eli seems to be more focused on knowing what's going on and is less patient. The fact that they are together and that we will have continued contact with them throughout the waiting period will certainly make it easier for them. Between weekly English lessons, school and Skype sessions with us I hope the time goes quickly for them. I know it will take far too long for me.

Here are more pictures for the day:
The Boys and I At The Orphanage

The Boys, Jesse (L) and Eli (R)

The Courtyard At The School

The Boys With a Caretaker

The School


Grandma DD said...

I enjoyed reading about the Lego experiences and what you could learn about each boy from their interactions with you and the Legos.Sorry that your departure is coming up so fast, but reallly glad you've had such great times with the boys.

alex amarxon said...

Our dear sweet Henry has been with us for 5 years! He is such a delight. We love you! learn more