Calvary Baptist visits La Piste
There are many organizations and groups that are interested in working with the Deaf community in Haiti. I love being able to share with different groups as they are changed by their experience down at La Piste. Last week I was able to join a group from Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater, FL on their trip to visit with the deaf camp.
This group was fun to be a part of as their experience was a bit different than others I have been with. The Calvary team has three deaf members on it and one interpreter! There was a bonding that happened between the deaf members of the team and the Deaf Haitians at La Piste. It was very unique to be a part of and witness.
I realized in college that by learning the language of another person it is like the window into their culture. In college I was learning Sign Language and there were many people around me who helped in that endeavor, deaf people, fellow students or mentors, and teachers. However, I saw many people at RIT that made no effort to interact or learn the language of their peers or students. BUT, when that one teacher or class mate did make an effort to learn a word or try in some way to communicate with the deaf student, it was incredible to see and realize how that makes them feel. I see the same happening here in Haiti, from both sides.
As I am trying to learn Haitian Creole I see the Haitians demeanor and body language completely changes when they see me working to learn their language. Creole is not an easy language to learn, but I am working away at it. Sometimes my struggles come with laughs and corrections, but mostly they come with smiles and understanding. By eliminating the barrier of communication, the barrier of culture begins to crumble as well.
I am really enjoying my time in Haiti learning the language and the culture, when I am able to share it with others it makes the experience that much more special and rewarding. The teams that come to spend time at La Piste with the deaf there come with so much spirit and joy. I hope they all realize how it brightens the day of the Haitians when they take time out of their lives to spend a day or a week here; just talking and listening to them. It means a great deal to all of us here, thank you!