A very full day indeed. But a fab one.
Today was a bit of a turning point from helping out at placement to bring allowed to run my own activities. I always love this handing over of responsibility on placement at home, but I wasn’t sure it would happen here, due to the language barriers.
The day started with me leading a physical activity group – it was dance based using Latin-American music, as well as some American and European pop. music. The group seemed to enjoy it and it held their attention. It was lovely to be dancing outside in the courtyard with out music blaring. Several of the children from the adjoining orphanage came to see what was happening and keenly joined in our group. That felt like a very special moment indeed. The activity was great for gaining more understanding into my clients’ coordination and gross motor skills, it was also nice to see which clients preferred explicit dance moves and those that were comfortable to move freely with the music.
Afterwards, as is tradition for all volunteers, I presented to the group about ‘Life in the United Kingdom’. The session went well, although it was definitely providing the service with more of an ‘educative’, rather than ‘occupational’ intervention. But as this was requested I feel able to sit with the discomfort of not always doing occupational therapy. There will be opportunities for ‘UK themed’ interactive occupational activities during the week.
This afternoon was the highlight of my trip so far… I had brought materials for making bracelets to Moldova. A group of six of the young adults self-selected to participate and made bracelets either for themselves or family members. As I started the group my supervisor (and translator ) was absent, I did a bit of thinking on my feet and was able to demonstrate the task and get the group to select three colours of thread each, all without verbal communication. We worked together and everyone produced a bracelet, some with minimal assistance and others with a little more. I felt pleased with many aspects of the group; the fact that all participants had chosen to be there, that there was room for individual choice and design, that the challenge of the task could be modified for each person and that I was able to lead it without the help of a translator.
I also had a visit from my overall supervisor here, and got great feedback from the staff at the centre. It’s funny, this feels like real ‘stripped back’ occupational therapy…. I mean, I wondered what sort of tool kit and skill set I’d have once I couldn’t verbally communicate as I’m aware how much I use verbal communication to assess and get to know clients at home, and to talk over ideas with educators. So it feels very reassuring that, even without that, I can still ‘do occupational therapy’.
The rest of my day just involved some exploring and a gym visit, though it has prompted me to write a special entry about crossing Moldovan roads and accessibility provision in Chișinău. Though not tonight as I’m exhausted!