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2015 - Report from Stella

2015 - Report from Stella

After my training as a physiotherapist, I knew that I wanted to work abroad, but it wasn't easy. My aim wasn't to earn money, but I needed to gain experience and even the flight to Africa was expensive. A Chance for Children sponsored my placement at Christoph Bettermann School, with two other physiotherapists and an occupational therapist.

At the beginning, it was hard to settle in; I was 'the new one'. I did not know much about their local therapies and there was a lot to learn. However, I was able to show them new therapies and improvements. I was impressed by the physiotherapists' knowledge and the children's motivation. In Germany, it was hard to motivate children and you always had to do it in a playful way. Of course, some of the tools were lacking, so I constructed a hammock with Sebastian; it is now part of our therapy.

It was amazing how well I got to know the children through therapy. Their lovely welcome and love brought me more joy than I could imagine. I loved reading a bedtime story with twenty lovely eyes upon me, and adored singing together.

In contrast, it was harder to gain the trust of my colleagues. I heard that a few employees had back pain because of carrying children. I started weekly back classes and was able to donate Thera bands from my old physiotherapy school - this created a close bond with my colleagues.

I played and painted a lot with the children and Stephen, one of the physiotherapists, asked me to design our therapy facilities. I painted active figures in motion with therapy tools.

I am thankful for the experience of seeing two cultures work together.