The Ngala School for the Deaf is divided into two halves, primary and secondary. I was teaching in the secondary side. The school is right across the street from where I lived so I simply walked there every morning. Walking through the guarded gate was refreshing. My students are so beautiful and each has a unique personality, some sweet as can be and some ultimate troublemakers. It’s a boarding school so I would come early, stay late and visit on weekends to hang out. The dorms are simple. Metal bunk beds with thin mattresses line one-story dorms, one for boys and one for girls, separated by a grown out field that the boys “mow” with machetes. Chickens run freely with their babies, cows visit the primary school side and it always smelled like the delicious lunches of beans, rice and cabbage that were made in the outdoor kitchen. Being in Ngala was peaceful, teaching was not nerve wracking at all and my fellow teachers were mostly welcoming.
My favorite part of being in Ngala was pulling out my 5 students who have hearing aids and giving them speech therapy. Sandra, Grancy, Joyce, Emmanuel and Hellen are used to signing so much at school, they don’t use their voices often but every day we did short intensive speech intervention targeting the sounds used most in their day to day lives. The tools I showed them are applicable across the board and they will be able to practice on their own using them. My fellow teachers were also able to ask questions about special needs education in the US and I was excited to inform them about the knowledge I’ve obtained in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Down syndrome and the effects on speech. When I first arrived, I didn’t understand how attached I would become but on my last day, it hit me and there I stood crying like a baby in front of 21 students who didn’t want me to leave either. I have an extremely difficult time saying good-bye to those who I may never see again.
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