Today was an excitable day when Collins, our 14-year-old deaf student traced over the dotted lines in his beginning writing lesson. His friend, Kelvin beamed so broadly with a big grin as he watched his friend traced each letter until it formed words. Then I gave him a blank sheet to rewrite the sentences. Next, I taught him to sign what he had written. Afterwards, Collins with his deep dimpled grin sat in amazement looking at what he had done. His facial expression was saying, “I can’t believe it!” This was his first time writing something on paper and he wrote his name.
The two boys had returned for their fourth Sign Language class and to play another round of the game, UNO for practicing their colors and numbers. Today, I surprised them by putting pencils in their hands to play a series of the Tic Tac Toe game, making X’s and O’s. It was then that I thought to try to see if Collins could hold a pencil correctly to write. After a few practices, he seemed ready and anxious to do more. That’s when I gave it a try with him tracing letters to form words. In between rounds of the UNO game, I would pause to have him write another sentence. By the time class was finished, Collins had written a short paragraph of his class experience. Plus, we practiced each sentence until he understood the meaning of what he was signing.
Because he experienced his hearing loss as an older toddler, he had acquired his mother tongue, Bemba. In a couple of lesson, he is already learning Zambian Sign Language. Today, not only did Collins learned to write, but he is also learning English, the formal language in Zambia. He will be a multi-lingual student in Zambia Deaf Vision’s program. Before class ended today, I gestured to him asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He responded in Bemba with a big grin, “Doctor.” Please continue to follow Collins’ story along with me on this Zambian journey of “Giving the Gift of Language,” to deaf youth without language.
Early this morning there was a tap...tap at my host's door. We curiously looked at each other as to say, "Hmm-mm, I wonder who that could be this early in the morning?" She went to see who was there. I soon heard my host saying something in Bemba but I could not hear a response. Then she stepped back into the room smiling, and said, "You have visitors." I looked up and two young boys stepped into the room smiling while signing, Mwashibukeni (Good morning.) Mulishani? (How are you?) I am laughing as I am writing this because that was Sign Language lesson two and here two days later, they had remembered what was taught to them!
My two new student found out where I am staying and they sought me out to learn more language. I was pleasantly surprised. I stopped what I was doing and immediately setup the camera to capture these precious dual moments of teaching and learning. I am still learning Bemba and they are learning Sign Language. Because I had not prepared a lesson plan for them, I had to quickly pull a lesson together on the spot. I did!
I pulled out the UNO game that I had been teaching my host to play. I signed with lots of excitable facial expression as we do in ASL, "YOU, HE, SHE, ME TOGETHER PLAY-PLAY GAME! The one little guy eyes became so big and bright with excitement.
I first taught the colors in the game and then expanded it to all the colors until they were able to point at different items in the room and our clothing to identify the correct colors. Next we moved onto numbers 0-9 and then to the special cards in the game giving how to draw two or four cards, reverse, skip, your turn, my turn and I won! With each round they had to rehearse counting out their seven cards.
The game began. We had loads of fun as each person won a round in the game!
Hey! If you know a fun game that I can play with my new students, please leave a comment with game instructions. Thanks!
Good evening everyone. We are slowly starting to cook with oil. Today, among Joseph's busy schedule, we managed to visit the homes of deaf children who are without language. Here is a quick excerpt of a 15 yr old child born deaf and has never learned any language or attended school. Although he has not learned to speak with his hands yet, look at how talented he is with his hands in creating detailed toys from old oil drums and building braii (little cooking grills). Joseph and I will soon start teaching him and other kids like him in Fisenge area.
David’s parents are piece workers. They are grateful to be discovered by Joseph’s organization, Zambia Deaf Vision. We are establishing a Sponsorship program for vulnerable deaf children like David. Help me to find sponsors to help this young boy and others like him to attend Zambia Deaf Vision's Resource Training Center to start their education by first learning Zambian Sign Language.
As you are traveling this summer? Are you required to show your negative COVID results on paper?
Are you also required to check your results test window time frame?. Making sure you are within the correct 72 or 96 hour specific time frame from your departure time. Otherwise, your results will expire and you will need to do another COVID test at the airport.
The reason above is why I unexpectedly left on Wednesday, July 7th, instead of on Monday July 5th after needing to acquire new test results on site at the airport. At the conclusion of getting my second test at the airport I hurried back to my gate only to find that, it was closed. My 8:45pm plane had left.
The long lines of frantic, upset, and anxious travelers showed me that many people were found in the same predicament as me. Although there were hundreds of people flying, COVID-19 has immobilized a lot of activities and employment both in my layover in Dubai and now where I am serving at in Zambia. Despite the setbacks, the Zambian team and I are carefully revising our plans to "Give the Gift of Sign Language" to youth who are without language.
Images and video will be uploaded soon. I am working using spotty internet service and working mostly from my phone at this time. I should have pictures posted along with more blog entries in the next few days.
Feel free to leave a comment about your recent travels.
Continue to follow me on this journey of "Give the Gift of Sign Language"
My desire is to continue making a difference and touch lives by providing two-way communication and Deaf Culture Awareness