Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Escuela de Sordos-- July 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

          Estimating that this is my tenth trip to Nicaragua in five years, I am feeling immense gratitude being here again. In a way, this “place” seems like “home” but it is actually the connections made with people that make León feel like “home.” The teachers at the school, the deaf students, the visiting professors at la Casa de Protocolo and... even Doña Maria all make being in León such a blessing.

          Dr. Ann Coyne, a.k.a Anita, has been invested in Nicaragua for 25 years. Beginning with Witness for Peace, she has certainly witnessed many changes in the people and the country.  Ann is supervising two UNO students completing their practicum in social work and has spent the summer in León again.  While here she has earned an honorary doctorate from UNAN-León but has won even more hearts from the Nicaraguans.

          My daughter Maia made this trip with me again.  It is her 3rd time and she is in love with the students.  She was ready to go to the school four hours before it opened. Once we got there, the kids were overjoyed and immediately asked for “chicle” (gum.)  Lucky for them, we brought 4 big boxes of gum for teachers to use as reinforcers over the next few months.

          Maia was absolutely overcome with joy when she saw a teacher using the activity Maia introduced last year.  Maia made magnets with vocabulary words that could be used to make sentences.

I bought some puffy, sticky letters at a garage sale for the students to use in making their names.  There is a new girl named Keyssi who is five years old and has been at the school just one month.  INCREDIBLE!  I was able to see her use classifiers and language expansion that one might see in a deaf child of deaf parents. Keyssi told us how her mom would be so proud of her work using the letters—and her facial expressions were perfect.  Keyssi even joked about one of the boys stinking because he farts so much. She would touch my face to get my attention which is a common behavior among deaf children and she would share all her joy with everyone around her. 

          Maia also used jump ropes with Nubia’s class to help review math facts.  The girls were enjoying this but the boys were so clumsy and uncoordinated.  These students are 10-11 years old but were working on basic single digit addition facts.  Maia would tell them “2+2= “ and the students would need to jump the answer.  For the oldest group we gave them word searches.  This was the first time for the teacher and for the students.

          I strongly believe that people in poverty need education and people to mentor them.  Nelson Mandela who celebrates 95 years of life is quoted as saying,
“Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”

I couldn’t agree more.

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