This morning, many (I think 11-12) special education schools put together a dance festival for their students. The theme was "For an Inclusive Bolivia." In my nearly two years here, I've seen several special education schools and programs that our children take part in. Regular public schools do not have special education programs, but there are schools for students with disabilities and different learning needs. Several of our older children have attended these special education schools and at all of the schools I have seen, I've been impressed with their presence in the community.
One school in particular (where J., who is blind, attends) is always having events and fundraisers for the students. This morning, J.'s school was a part of this dance festival, and I was asked if I could take her. I had been told it was an event just for her school so was a bit surprised with how many people were there when we arrived. Then we learned what the event really was and it all made sense!
Like any good Bolivian event, the following happened: We were told to be there at 8am (EN PUNTO for the Spanish speakers out there!) as that is the time it would begin. We arrived at 8:30am. It actually began at about 10:15am. Each school had 15 minutes to dance, and of course J.'s school danced second to last. Her dance started at about 12:20pm. We left early as soon as she was finished. I'd been told we'd only be there about 2 hours but just over 4 hours later we were heading out! Gotta love Bolivia!
It was hard to get good pictures but her group did a great job! Although there are many more students than shown, only a small group was chosen to take part in the dance. Her school is for the visually impaired, and the teachers chose students with a variety of visual abilities to dance. As J. is completely blind, she was on the more severe end of this spectrum. For not being able to see what the dance was supposed to be like, she really did well! Her teacher clearly had worked with her quite a bit in preparation! She was excited about the morning, and walked away very happy with how she had done. When we made it back home, she told everyone that she had danced that morning!
Every school danced a traditional Bolivian dance. I wish I could tell you what J.'s school's theme was but I really don't know… Sorry!