Something about being with the deaf. It’s like entering another country ... again.
First of all, the class is full of students, all ages 12 year old boys to 20 year old men and 15 year old girls. Everyone is engaged in figuring out the best way to make the pieces we are working on , most folks are talking , some shouting …
it is silent in the room…
(except for a few outburst of laughter and beating on the desk to get the white lady’s attention.)
Eeerie, but I kind of like it.
Physical space, which, again, for the record, in Haiti is entirely different than the culture where I grew up..
Basically, once you are a friend. ( which is a huge compliment) you no longer are bothered by all that extra empty space surrounding your body. If we are talking, we are touching, your arm across my lap,my hand on your shoulder or at the very least we are holding hands.
Physical Space , I think is even further reduced in the environment of the deaf because without the non physical piece , called sound, most communication must be seen or felt.
SO clearly if I have stepped on the thread you dropped,. It is much more efficient to reach down , grab my foot, and move it than to try to sign to me ,.. " hey miss white lady, please could you get your lovely dusty sandaled foot off of my thread !”
It's a little awkward at first, having an almost stranger reach down and pick up your foot, expectantly. But I kind of like it. Again, it just eliminates all that bulky personal space.
Honestly it takes my breath away at how quick they are to pick up new ideas. It is like their minds are working way more quickly than i can get out what is in mine.
The other day when I came in with fabric to braid, to begin working on the Rosette Idea, we were still sorting out the pieces to put together when this young man began hammering a piece of wood with nails across it to the classroom wall.
It took me a minute to realize what he was doing,
He had seen what we were going to do, gone outside, found wood to attach their strips to make it perfect for braiding...he did it and was nailing it to the wall...before i finished the explanation...See what i mean?
We return today to see what has been done with the material we left.
They may have come up with goods i have not yet dreamed of.
i can't wait.