Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Autism in the Maasai Community

I don't know if you all remember but I posted about a friend ours, Lillian, and her son with Autism a few months ago. They are both Maasai.  They recently began an intensive program in India to learn more about Autism.  Here is a mass email that she had sent out as well as some the pictures she sent.  

Of note...She was able to raise all the funds to attend this mother-child program through holding a Harambee.  A Harambee is basically where the village comes together to donate funds or time or encouragement in order to tackle an issue that one member of the village is having because they would never have been able to raise these funds alone.

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I hope this email finds you well, its Diwali festive season so Happy Diwali to the Hindu guys.I must have email a few of you on arrival to India. Babu and i arrived safely, we were received well at the airport, Thanks to Pummy who organised for my accommodation here in Delhi, Pummy you are a wonderful man and i must Thank you so much for all your support. The apartment is Great! at least i can cook our Kenyan food!

I miss ketepa tea and Roiko though, please rescue me!

My first week here was basically to know the place, New Delhi is a huge city,very few people speak and understand English, (if you do not know sign language and you are planning to travel to India, you better know the language or else you are in trouble)

With the help of Pummy i settled within the first two days of arrival and i just felt like i am home! the weather is very friendly, i am told that its gonna be cold soon but currently we are having a great time. Babu and i started the mother and child program at Action for Autism(AFA) on the 20th of October 2008. we were received by none other than Merry Barua the president and founder of AFA. the first day was just introduction and familiarization, the second day we got into business. we are 15 mothers and 15 children in a class. the center is huge, it is a school, a therapy hospital, training center for mothers and children with Autism. this particular center is beyond my own expectations,if you go through their website they have not exhausted what they offer.
 
Have you ever carried 1000 tons of maize or wheat on your hands? that's how i felt before i got to the gate of AFA, the moment i got inn, the reception i received, the mothers and children i met at the center, the caring and friendly staff members of AFA made me feel like i have just dropped the 1000 ton of Maize from my hand!!!!!!!! you know the feeling!!!
 
It is so comforting to finally meet people who understand your situation and  instead of asking you questions like what is wrong with your child, they are so eager and exited to share their experiences with their Autistic children!!!!! at the end of the first week in school i just said wow!!!!!!!!! finally!!!!! this is what i have been looking for!! an environment that provides opportunities to Autistic children to explore their inner talents, an environment where everyone is appreciated, an environment where there is hope for children with Autism. I want to Thank you all for giving me all the support i required to get to this point. from the planning phase to the implementation stage.
 
Mheshimiwa, we need this kind of center in Kenya please!!!!!!!!! did you get an opportunity to watch the last debate? the two US presidential hopefuls had to talk about Autism, this will take you far please speak to Hon Naomi Shaban!!!!!!!
 
during Diwali festival Babu felt ill,he was admitted in hospital for 3 days, the hospitals here are also very nice. within three days he was fine and back to his normal jovial moods. we actually got out of hospital yesterday and this morning we went to school!!!!!!!!!!
 
I have to go now, i will keep in touch just wanted to break the silence. attached are a few pictures.
I have a family taking care of me here, i have a mum, an uncle, sisters and a brother and a few nieces, will tell you about this in my next email.
 
Best regards to all
 
Lilian Seenoi





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