My experience with the Global Autism Project has taken me more than half way around the world being that I started in Hawaii. Orientation was in New York, which made going the long way around to Kenya worth it so I could meet my SkillCorps team members. I also received a first hand overview on what Global Autism Project has been up to. Molly Ola Pinney has brought this organization a long way since I was first introduced to it at ABAI. Her motto of, “Do few things better,” has serviced her well. How honored I feel to be part of such an amazing organization and working side by side with clinicians who are knowledgeable and compassionate in the field of autism.
Once in Kenya the familiar excitement of traveling was all around with the different languages, different foods, the car steering wheel and driving on the other side. Many laughable moments came from the sites such as the large bulletin boards advertising local beer by welcoming President Obama, who made a visit to his father’s home town last month and the 70s/80s American remix being played at the restaurant we stopped at for lunch.
We all rested up and settled into our guesthouse. A trip to the local grocery store for a few missing necessities and to purchase our drinking water for the week gave us an opportunity to look at the different products sold here.
By Monday morning we were ready to get to work. Pooja, the director of the center in Nairobi, gave us the task of staff evaluations to obtain a non-biased opinion of the staff’s current performance. The eval was detailed with many opportunities for us to witness the target areas of performance. When we went out into the center the first activity we saw was circle time. It was accompanied by singing and a guitar. The children’s faces carried wide smiles as they danced around.
The day was spent reviewing program binders, noting what was and was not done for programs and getting to know the names of the staff and children. The individual schedules for each child made getting to know the routine simple. Pooja the director had a very pleasant yet respectful air about herself. Everyone was very welcoming.