Since the Viva o Som clinic is relatively new to this community, outreach to the community is an important part of their activities. Today we visited 2 schools which serve children with special needs. One school serves children with a range of disabilities and includes adult learning classes as well. The other school serves primarily deaf and hard of hearing children with some who have developmental delay. Both schools are committed to providing appropriate education and support services such as physical and speech therapy to the populations they serve. The teachers all have degrees in special education of which they are very proud. The School for the Deaf additionally has a strong performing arts component and holds an annual play or performance for the community. We were able to see a DVD of these students performing a story in sign language using glow-in-the-dark gloves against a blackened stage. A folklore story about life of the Amazon – quite beautiful and unique – I only wish I could share that video here!
Today was also a particularly important day for the clinic. This month marks the one year anniversary for the Viva o Som Clinic and the community was invited to celebrate the event. It is clear that there is much community pride in the town of Parintins, evidenced by the show of support for the clinic by those in attendance. The clinic transformed into a festive venue with decorations both inside and out. Vanessa, the clinic manager, arranged music, food, entertainment and even the press! I must say that was an unexpected curtain call for Libbey and me! It was a wonderful opportunity to meet people from the community and talk about the services offered by the clinic.