First contact was the previous deputy mayor whose responsibility was special need children and additionally he has a daughter with a disability, so obviously I thought that he should be receptive to our approach. He seemed to be and gave me the name and phone number of another person who worked in this area.
I phoned to be told that she did not do this – end of conversation.
Back to the deputy mayor, no further progress there. I was told by a friend that there was a special school in the town, but I could not track this down, it was as if it did not exist. One day I saw a group in the main square selling gift items and thought they must be from this school and talked to some of the adults there, they were interested in our idea if not very enthusiastic. So nothing developed from that contact.
I was told about a speech therapist who could be useful in tracking down interested parents but after a number of conversations he was not interested enough to do anything. But then in the last few months there was more activity in the town square and I spoke to the helpers who this time sounded interested.
Last week I had a call from the head teacher to say that they wanted to come to see us and suggested the end of May. Yesterday he phoned to say they would be coming tomorrow, May 28th I thought just to see, but we were at the sanctuary good and early having finished all our other work and were surprised to see a coach coming down the road towards us.
Anyone who has visited knows that the road to the sanctuary is steep and rough and the driver was determined to drive right down, but I was able to go up the track to stop her as they is no way to turn a coach.
Anyway, the children and helpers piled out to be greeted by Doozy and Mia,(2 of the dogs that have been dumped on us!) the other dogs being in the car under a shady carob tree. The first group of children came in among the donkeys while the others went into a field above where they could see what was going on.
The children had a great time. They enjoyed the company of the donkeys, brushing and cuddling them, although some obviously were a bit nervous, but they soon overcame this. It was amazing to see them interacting with animals they would not have been near before. In fact, the teachers were probably more scared than the children.