Monday, July 6, 2015

I Can Help

Olajide has been sick most of the weekend and I informed the owners of the hotel (Benjamin and Sandrine) that Olajide would be in the room again today.  We had two home visits scheduled this morning and we were a little concerned about communication.  While I was explaining this, one of the employees came over and said "I can help."  This was Norman's first day on the job at Flor de Sarta and he was so eager to help!  This is the true, authentic Nicaraguan hospitality!  Norman is fluent in Spanish and English but has no knowledge of sign language but liked learning about it.  Sandrine wanted to help too so she did Norman's job while Norman came with us on visits and Olajide tried to rest.  We gave him rave reviews and told the bosses to keep him!  ;-)

Norman did a great job translating for us today! 

The two visits today were very different again.  We walked into Yadir's home through the back yard where several men were welding. In the house we sat on the usual plastic chairs and had a wonderful conversation with Yadir, his mom, grandma, two younger sisters and his aunt.  While his mom sees Yadir as having skills in math and computers she will not let him play in the street as she is worried about drugs and gangs.  Yadir's younger sisters are able to sign better with him than the adults and mom is not able to go to the sign language classes because she works at the supermarket.  From my perspective, Yadir has been eager to learn at school and has great potential.  However, his mom was concerned that her son has never mentioned this professora from the United States and had no idea we had been there all last week.

Juan's dad expresses his many concerns about raising a deaf child.

The second visit was a little more complicated.  Juan has been with us at the school since the very first day but his attendance has been sporadic.  When he was seven years old, Juan's mother died from AIDS and Juan must have expensive medications along with Ensure fortified milk to maintain his health.  There are 12 people who live in the house and not nearly enough food.  We were fortunate to visit with Juan's dad who happened to be home today.  He will be leaving for Costa Rica this week in search of work.  His dad does not know sign language and fears Juan does not feel loved.  Does Juan know that his mother died or does he think she abandoned him?  Without language, the answer is unclear.  As his dad leaves (again) in search of work, who will take care of Juan and make sure he goes to school?  Juan is now 13 and is always hungry.  He does not have a sturdy grasp of math or reading which makes his dad wonder if Juan will be more easily persuaded to join a gang.

Yadir is a confident young man!
Juan has so much undeveloped potential.
 I sure hope that we are funded with the Rotary Global grant so we can create dictionaries specifically for families to use.  Hopefully I'll be like Norman today and be able to say to the families  "I Can Help."

--Julie Delkamiller

1 comment:

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