Friday, February 21, 2014

A 'joyful collision' of different worlds

Of the many Haitian images replaying in my mind, is a wonderful one of hope.
In Leveque I met two deaf men. I explained that I was a student of American Sign Language, knew very little at this time, and they would have to sign very slowly in order for me to understand.  They were so excited that this stranger, obviously one who looked very different from them, was trying to learn their language.  They asked repeatedly where I had come from and why would I want to learn sign.  After I explained I was from the U.S.A.  and  have a niece who is deaf I’d enjoy signing with, they immediately took to teaching me. 

When I wasn’t catching on, one of the men took to acting out the meaning in a very animated and fun way.  I was slow, but eventually managed an understanding of most words.   

It was a joyful collision of two vastly different worlds, deaf and Haitian, hearing and American, yet we were able to share a wonderful afternoon learning together.

-Leslie Wildermuth

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