Day #3 of working at the deaf school, Escucha Mis Manos (Listen to My Hands). It was incredible! Today we worked with adults instead of children. It was moving to see the adults learn things which we take for granted, such as math and vocabulary, for the first time. The deaf are so hungry to learn.
The last three days have been such an eye opener for me! I never seriously considered the deaf community besides the fact that they couldn’t hear. I never thought about all the difficulties of daily life as a deaf person. Many deaf people are born of hearing families. They are excluded because they are different. Deaf people, especially in Guatemala, experience a lot of rejection. They are under fed, forced to clean, left out of ordinary family activities, viewed as inferior or mess ups, and so much more. Realizing what deaf people experience here in Guatemala has given me such a love for this seldom reached people group.
When we first arrived in Guatemala it was awkward to sign to someone without saying anything. I subconsciously thought that deaf people were somehow retarded or mentally inferior to people who could hear. I was so wrong! As we began to work with the kids at the school I realized that deaf people are no different from people who can hear. They just speak a different language.
One of my favorite parts of each day is seeing these kids, who are normally considered “different”, come to school with bright faces knowing that they will be considered normal amongst other deaf. It was an amazing experience for me to interact and try to communicate with the adults on the third day. It was moving to see how much it meant to them that I would take the time to learn their language and connect with them. The deaf in Guatemala will always have a piece of my heart.