|Group discussions about politics, Deaf rights, language, and so much more.|
We fixed the van (giant sigh) and began going out to the homes of these Deaf adults to invite them and bring them to the church for the classes. We went to the homes of the friends of the few who came in the beginning, and they led us to their friends who led us to their friends. We handed out flyers, talked to families, posted on social media, and definitely did a lot of praying. Slowly, but surely, we have been finding them.
So many of the parents don't want to let their Deaf adult children come take advantage of these classes because they don't think the adult can go out on his or her own, the Deaf adult is responsible for the cleaning and taking care of all of the nieces and nephews, or whatever other reason that is completely unfair and, honestly, just because they are Deaf. The biggest difficulty is that most of them can't afford the transportation to get to and from the church everyday. The organization providing the classes has agreed to give some money, and I am providing the rest through donations, for gas, and we are currently working out a route to pick up and drop off as many as possible every day.
We finally got enough participants to start the decorations class. We started with 10 and now we have a seemingly steady group of 19. They have been working hard and learning a lot!
Here's a fun math problem for you all to help me solve.
Fans + paper = paper all over the floor. Dominican Republic heat + no fans = death.
? + ? = everyone is alive, happy, and able to work
The women really seem to be enjoying it. So far, they have learned how to make these four decorations!!
|Baskets for a unicorn/rainbow themed party.|
|Little backpacks for a baseball themed party.|
We haven't been able to start the generator class yet because we just don't have enough participants. We are trying to figure out how to make this class work as well. Even though they don't want to take the decorations class and the generator class has not started yet, there is a group of about five Deaf men who come every day just to have a safe place to hang out together. For some reason, I find that to be so awesome.
There were also two large Deaf events this past week. ANSORDO (Asociación Nacional de Sordos de la República Dominicana) had their re-inauguration ceremony. I went and brought many of the participants from the classes so that we could all be a part of this big night. The organization has been holding workshops for weeks and working closely with DDW (Discovering Deaf Worlds) from the United States in order to figure out how to empower and develop the Deaf Community here in the Dominican Republic. The event was very nice, and various people, hearing and Deaf, shared the history, successes, and goals of ANSORDO. I am so excited to see this group of people (almost entirely Deaf) working so hard to advance the Deaf Community. I also got to meet the leadership of ANSORDO, which was such an honor.
The next night, my group and many other Deaf ministries from around the city and some from different parts of the country came to a church that has a very successful Deaf ministry to watch a movie that they made entirely in sign language. It was the story of how Thomas Gallaudet brought sign language to America and began Deaf education there. They showed the movie, sang praise songs (voice and sign), and showed a chapter of their current project to translate the Bible into sign language videos. It was a fun night that I was thankful that my group and I could be a part of.
I'm really not sure how the same exact events can be at the same time encouraging and exciting while also discouraging and stressful, but that is how I have felt for the past couple of weeks. If it's not one problem, it's another. But God has worked out everything that has come our way, and I feel so blessed and encouraged about how much this project has grown in such a short period of time. Please continue praying for this project. Your prayers are definitely helping. And please consider donating for this transportation issue. It was very costly to get the van up and running (it apparently had a lot of issues and it's nothing short of a miracle that we were able to use it for camp) in order to do home visits and to transport our participants, and gas here is very expensive.