"One day just a few weeks ago as I walked to Mosoriot with my good friend Benjamin (native Kenyan), we met a Deaf man named David. I called out a "hello", but he indicated through miming that he was deaf. Since I grew up in a household with deafness, I knew right away what he wanted me to know. David and I started signing. As it happened, Benjamin and I had had numerous conversations with locals in which the language choice was always Nandi, so I experienced a surge of pride for being able to communicate through Sign Language with this intelligent young Deaf man. David explained to me where he lived, and that he was part of the Nandi Deaf Organization. Members of this organization rarely meet because they live so very far apart.
I wrote down contact details and asked him to come by when he got a chance. Just yesterday he came by the house and we talked... He explained to me that I am the only person in Mosoriot with whom he can sign with (exception being his wife). This blew me away and made me think once again of the isolation that so many deaf people face on a daily basis everywhere in the world, and how the isolation is multiplied here in Kenya where technology is not easy to come by. My signing is horrible, so I decided to get my laptop out so he could FaceTime my sister Jenny who is a terrific Interpreter. Unfortunately she could not take the call because it was her first day at her new job. I called my Mum and she and David had a great Face-Time conversation that lasted more than half an hour. Throughout the conversation I saw David's face light up- it was evident that he had a thirst to communicate with new souls and was now free to express himself. Mum told me later that she had trouble understanding Kenyan Sign Language, but that David was remarkable in his intuitive ability to figure out what she was signing in ASL. We are really hoping that Chris Hunter, my Dad's great friend and colleague who is profoundly Deaf will have a chance to talk to David while I am here to provide the Face Time on my computer. (Update: Chris and David met today!)"
A huge thanks to Elizabeth Stewart the owner and operator of Signing Online for guest blogging today!
Here is a brief history of the company, Signing Online. As recently as 10-15 years ago it seemed inconceivable that the web could be used to teach a language. But ASL is a visual, gestural language making the web a perfect medium for dissemination of this fascinating language. You don't need to hear the language; you need to see it. Signing Online was created by a profoundly Deaf man who had already written many books including topics such as: Teaching Deaf children, Deafness, and teaching American Sign Language. Dr. Stewart was a brilliant and inspired teacher who saw that it was necessary to reach beyond his academic circle to touch the lives of all the people needing to learn how to communicate with friends, acquaintances and most importantly their families.
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Blogger: Monica Hood
I created Deaf Insight to help spread deaf awareness. It is a place for everyone to come together to help share with the world! In this blog, I discuss my thoughts about many things. I hope you all enjoy it!