Saturday, July 4, 2015

Home Visits

The first two days of home visits have been an emotional roller coaster.  While some parents are being interviewed by Olajide at the deaf school, we are also visiting some of the families in their homes.  In particular, I am looking for ways to support the parents, siblings and extended family members in being able to communicate with the deaf child.  This is such a privilege to be welcomed into the homes and once again experience the humbling hospitality of Nicaraguans.

The families have shared their perspectives on the strengths and skills of their children as well as their visions of the future.  There is a deaf person who restores art at the museum and serves as an inspiration for these families that their son/daughter could also use their artistic skills to have a job in the future. Levi has skills helping out in the family store and his mom hopes he will have enough math and language to be employed.  In Nicaragua it is more the exception than the rule that individuals with disabilities live as independent adults so having that vision is a great step forward.

There is common fear that a son/daughter will choose friends who are involved in a gang or drugs because of the limited opportunities for deaf individuals. One student was recently hit by a car and broke his leg while another one has been abused by his dad.  Another dad is attentive to the twin sons but completely ignores the deaf child and refuses to learn sign.  These have been heartbreaking realities.

Visiting a single mother of three children in her home of dirt floor and tin walls was a struggle.  The son had bug bites all over his arms and face while the dog had fleas.  This mother is so motivated to learn sign language and I am inspired by her unconditional love for her children.  She eagerly took some of our notecards, markers and tape so she can label the items in her house with the Spanish vocabulary. She is willing to try anything!

A glimpse into the little house with  minimal electricity
that is probably stolen from a neighbor

While I have seen the living conditions of our students before, I hope I never become desensitized to it.  The reality is I can share my education but could never fix the multitude of issues in this impoverished country.  People do the best they can with what they have and I do my best to uphold the dignity of each individual I meet.

-- Julie Delkamiller

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