Upon arrival to the school, students came up to the bus and greeted us with hugs, handshakes, and smiles. Just as Belinda approaches all activities with praiseworthy energy and excitement, she was eager to implement new strategies with materials that we made for her class last night. One of our main goals for the day was to help the general education classroom understand the meaning and implications of disabilities. When we entered this classroom, we asked the students what they knew about disabilities. Some responded in Twi that disabled people are those who do not have a body part. One surprising response was that a disability is when a person has a knife stuck in his/her body. We expanded that definition, divided the students into groups, and asked them to pretend that they had disabilities such as not being able to speak, see, hear, walk, and use their arms. We then encouraged the students to help one another during a beach ball game while pretending to have a specific disability. After this, the Unit School students and general education students came together and engaged in a similar activity. It was refreshing to see all the general education students help the Unit School students during the different activities, even those who had initially been hesitant to play with the Unit School students. By the end of the activity, the children were one big, united group.
After our placements ended for the day, we visited an Adinkra village. We watched women pound tree bark to a pulp with thick tree branches around five feet in length. A dark liquid was produced when this pulp was boiled, and this was used as the ink for stamps originally used for symbolic depictions during funerals. Some of us made our own patterned fabrics with these special stamps! Our final stop on the way back to the hotel was a visit to a Kente cloth village. We saw men weave cloth on wooden looms used to make intricate Kente cloth strips, some of which take many months to complete.
The evening came to a close by another ‘assembly line’ during which we prepared more materials for the Unit School followed by a discussion with Belinda. She explained how she had initially recruited students to her school by physically going to families in the community after word-of-mouth referrals. She commented how people have gradually accepted and learned to appreciate the roles of both her and her students in their community. She concluded with her hopes of successful transition of some of her students into general education. Her strength and resilience amazed us all. Listening to her speak about all the opposition she has faced and continues to face was both heart-breaking and empowering. She is a model for all of us.