What does it take to bring a smile to a child’s face? The International Association of Special Education Volunteer Service Project provided the opportunity to find out when four students and two staff members of the Jaffery Academy Special Needs Department were privileged to visit the Lake Manyara National Park.
Irene and Sebastian, owners of Soko Adventure and Safari Ltd. in Arusha, Tanzania, teamed with IASE to provide a van and guide to introduce the group to their own local animals…close up! Elephants, lions, flamingos, giraffes, and more! And, yes…there were lots of smiles.
The students are receiving work experience in Arusha at McMoody’s Restaurant and the Pick & Pay Supermarket. They have spent about eight years at Jaffery Academy and now are generalizing their skills in the community.
The trip was educational and exciting for our students. They gave remarks such as “Look, monkeys can carry their babies on their chest.” And “Wow, elephants can cross the road by themselves.” The students behaved well throughout the whole journey. They reminded each other of the rules of maintaining the environment of the park, they respected each other and socialized with each other and also with their guide. The drive home was full of special recollections of what we had seen together.
We are all grateful to the IASE, to Jaffery Academy, and to Soko Adventure and Safari Ltd. for this chance to visit Manyara National Park. We hope that this is an experience that encourages families to involve their children of all abilities in their community.