Sunday, June 29, 2008

"We love you because your skin is like [ours]"


On Friday, June 27, Emmanuel invited us to go see a drama performance put on by the deaf students. While waiting for the performance to start, some of the deaf students walked up to us and shook our hands. One of the Zambians had beautiful blue eyes. I had never seen a Black person with blue eyes before. Cheray signed to him that he had beautiful blue eyes and he laughed and signed thank you. It was so wonderful and just different to see teens like me who were signing and giggling and behaving like normal teens (not that they wouldn't). I only had interacted with a few deaf adults back home but never a group of deaf kids my age. One time we looked back to see a boy signing, "move back because you stink," to another boy. I never had seen someone insult another person in sign so that was interesting too. I was also amazed at my ability to understand most of what I saw. Thanx to Emmanuel, my sign-cabulary has grown. After observing, Emmanuel signed to us that the kids were going to dance for us first. The dancing was pretty entertaining. They were giggling the whole time and they were on beat for most of the time too. I did not think it would be easy to remain on the same beat as someone else that you are not looking at when you cannot hear, but later I figured they probably could see each other using their peripheral vision or they practiced A LOT. Once they were done, a handsome gentleman went to the center of the stage to sign and muffley say something to the effect of, "Now will show you drama (a skit)." Thank God Emmanuel was there to sort of translate for us what they were saying. I mean he used sign but he would spell out words we didn't know using sign so that helped. Just like the handsome gentleman, Emmanuel speaks while signing too, but it sounds rather muffled sometimes. Anyways what I understood of the scenario was... A boy wanted to marry a deaf girl but the parents would not allow it. He left his house with his dad shouting (they are all signing by the way) and went to the girls home to ask the father for his daughter's hand in marriage but that father would not allow it. Both the girl's and boy's mothers were deaf but the dads were able to speak and hear. I guess the girl's dad still said it wasn't alright and then the girl and the girl's family all went to the boy's family's home. At the house, the dads kept yelling. (if you are confused by my rendition of the story, you are not alone because so am I. The whole story, the moms were quiet and waited hand and foot on the dads but finally at the end the moms started signing (both being deaf) and said that the dads need to left the two youngs ones get married. I either did not understand the ending of the skit or totally blanked out because I still don't know if they got married... Despite my confusion I had a lot of fun watching the skit. I thought it was very ironic that the deaf students where acting out speaking people, without speaking... it was awesome... Then Emmanuel signed the rest of the kids introducing us. I could tell because I kind of heard him say seattle academy while signing and I saw him sign, "North America," which I do know in sign. The he told us to come in front of the deaf kids and go in a line and sign our names. So Cheray started and we went down the line and finally it was my turn. I signed, "my name is s-y-d-n-e-y. my sign name is (then i gave my sign name which I tried to explain in my previous blog)." They all started clapping for me because I was the only person who had signed my sign name. Finally the rest of the group went and then we signed our ages and our grades. Then our group kind of broke and some of the deaf kids gathered around me. They signed their names to me and then their sign names. They signed to me that they were happy to have met me and a couple of the kids asked for my email and told me I was beautiful. I signed to them that they did a very good job as best as I could. Then the handsome gentleman who could sign and speak at the same time came up to me and said/signed, "We love you because your skin is like us," which I figured he meant, "ours." That made me feel so good. It was the first time that I did not feel like a foreigner because I was from another country and know VERY little of my African roots. That was really nice to hear/see... Later that day a really cool girl named Lucy (not our Lucy from SAAS) asked me what ethnicity I am and I tried to explain that I was not quite sure what part of Africa I am from due to slavery in the States and she said, "You're from Zambia, you're from Zambia." I chuckled and thought that was really cute. Lucy's friend Natasha asked to have a picture of me so I gave her a prom picture of me and my boyfriend at the Garfield High School Prom at the Columbia Tower. She said, "Oh, he has beautiful skin." I told her he is Senegalese and she asked for the picture and I gave it to her. Then I met three new girls who were funny and outgoing and I just loved them. Then it was time to go. We said our good byes considering it was the last day working at Munali. Although I was sad, I was truly happy. I had another WONDERFUL day and I felt very good.

1 comment:

Theryl said...

Very Cool Syd!! I'm so glad you are enjoying yourself and having a very enlightening experience.

TJ