Performance and contests. Everything to honor the bravest person on Earth. Mothers and their care for their children.
On top of a sandbar at the bottom of the village of French Harbor is the Cattleya learning center where 29 disabled children are trained and educated by three teachers some days a week.
But now, two days before the official Mother’s Day, the center is decorated for the celebration. On the “stage” are Barbie scenery dressed in balloons, with a stage door with fringe curtains. The majority of those present are mothers. The noise level is high among the expectant children. They spin around on the floor, many of them in Barbie T-shirts with pictures of their loved ones on the back. Boxed food, homemade cakes, and cupcakes are lined up on the table.
Mother. Tender. She is always there. Through thick and thin. The warmth and love in their eyes show that they are proud and love their children more than anything on this planet.
At once, everyone stands up and lowers their head. Because all such sessions start with a prayer.
Two children with parents enter the stage and slow dance to music with a paper heart in their hands. Gradually more children enter the stage and a TV screen shows a video of a dance group. Now the children will follow the group and perform their own dance.
A Mother’s Day without the mother’s participation can be tame. Therefore, Cattleya organized a relay competition between two teams of mothers, where shaking on the bottom would spread small bricks from a box on their backs which would be picked up as quickly as possible by the team members. The atmosphere in the hall resembled a soccer match in the World Cup and the atmosphere was great.
The sound energy that was created in the room in an interaction between adults and children was picked up by the children around the learning center as well. On the way out, I met a couple of children enjoying what they heard and saw through the door. Because play and fun are universal.
Make a disability into an ability. It amazes me how much you can train them to perform very well. Give them a social value as my friend Shelly Trevino said.
Since I can’t speak Spanish, there were few interviews. But I could see that the mothers were having an awesome time with their children this Friday afternoon. And rejoiced in the fact that they are not alone in having a disabled child.
Text and photo: Roger Bjoroy-Karlsen, Cattleya board of directors