The RTP Region Head, Abdul Hafiz, hosted us at a restaurant around the corner from the Doubletree. He claimed to be the “best seafood restaurant in Aqaba” . Based on our experience he may well be right. He ordered a wide variety of appetizers then organized plenty of very fresh fish. Whole fish on the bone: some grilled some fried. Apparently in this part of the word eating fish with utensils is a travesty.
So Abdul gave us all step by step instructions on how to fillet our dinner using only “the ten fingers God gave you”. Funny, I think it may taste better that way. When the plate was piled high with skeletal remains I was pondering desert. Not so fast according to Abdul. “Now for the best part-the brains!” So back in we all went. I am sure I am much smarter now.
We began today with a visit to a local community centre which ran a program for special needs kids. As we arrived a session was just beginning on the classification of food groups. The leader , a woman of immense enthusiasm and an impossibly bright smile sat surrounded by a dozen or so children.
They appeared to range in age from 5 to 15. Some were Down Syndrome, many autistic all were happy to be there.
The leader began by asking each one in turn what they had for breakfast. She had a way of making each feel very special and every answer got a round of applause. Then on to the game. The kids took turns running 20 yards, uncovering a hidden plastic fruit, running back then dropping it in the appropriate bucket. The debrief was very special. A collaborative tapestry made with crafts and presented to the visitors.
Although these kids seemed to be well cared for now I couldn’t help but think of their long term prospects. How equipped is this society to care foe special needs adults? And I thought of our friend Peter and my brother who is not in a good place.
After a short bus ride we arrived at a school that looked like it catered to K to 6. We visited with the Principal who spoke so highly of the Jordan country head Lemise that I began to wonder if perhaps they were related. Then we met with a group of
a about six Mothers with pre-schoolers in tow. The Moms were excited to tell us about how much they liked the RTP program which encouraged hygiene and personal cleanliness. So excited it was difficult for the interpreters to keep up. But we got the point. And wherever possible the preschoolers stole the show just by being so unbelievably cute.
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