My 1st Deaf School! Brazil

Today was one of the best days of my life!!  Absolutely AMAZING!  Kara and I (along with a girl named Courtney) made our way to the port where a nice guy who spoke English helped us get a taxi driver to lower his fare.  Not only did he lower his fare, but he got out of the car several times to ask people and try to find the Deaf school.  We only knew what block it was on (thanks to one of the guides SAS employed for our trips) but we had no idea of the exact address.  Thankfully our driver stuck with it and finally someone knew its exact location!           Anyways, we got there and to be honest, we were a little nervous just because we weren’t sure what to do once we got there, ya know?  We went into the office (windows barred and the area a little shady) and the women at the desk did not speak ANY English and only Brazilian sign language.  I kept gesturing and was feeling like us coming was NOT going over well, but then one of the women brought in a girl who spoke English!  Not only that, but she was a CODA!  (Deaf parents!)  Anyway, from that point on it went uphill.     Honestly, it was one of the best days ever!  We met up with several Deaf teachers and Kara continued talking with the CODA.  I spent the ENTIRE time laughing and talking with the Deaf teachers.  I’m just so grateful
for San Antonio Brian’s influence on my gesturing (remember my “Mime Class” as Dad called it? 😉 ) because we were not only having basic conversation, but I was able to find out about the school, the history of Brazilian sign, compare signs, etc.  We all laughed so much and had a
BLAST for a couple of hours.  One of the teachers (probably late-20s) and I signed back and forth for the entire time.  He, Jackson, and I swapped signs with each other, learning each others’ signs for everything imaginable.  It’s hard to describe but we would gesture an
idea, then I would sign it in ASL, and he would sign it in Portuguese.  It was AWESOME and again I was reminded how important communication is in the Deaf world, that truly Deaf will be SO patient to reach communication.  After about 10 mins, communication was no problem and just took a lot of creativity 😉  Honestly, it was absolutely wonderful and I was beyond excited by the time we left!!!  We got tons of pics, hugs, kisses, email addresses, etc.  It was GREAT and an absolute highlight!  It was great to see communication at it’s best, ya know?!  Sadly, no children were there because it was a Friday, but the experience was totally worth it and a blessing.  Courtney was such a trouper and took videos the ENTIRE time
which I will totally use to write my paper for Languages Around the World class (due tomorrow).  Jackson was telling me about the director who, although hearing, is an absolute proponent of Deaf rights, has the admiration of the entire Deaf community, and set-up the school in such a way that the school has won many awards.  Jackson gave us a tour of the
3 story school (downtown area), showed us the classrooms for their 200 students.  Jackson, grew-up signing and even went to a university for a time studying HISTORY!  Honestly, I’m just SO ecstatic right now just thinking about it–it was absolutely amazing!  I can’t wait to do
this in every port!  The CODA then came to the street with us and hailed a taxi, explained where we needed to go and negotiated a price.  Yep, it was an AWESOME day!  😀
We’ll be leaving in a bit for Ghana and I’m honestly bummed to be leaving Brazil.  Kara and I talked today about how much we LOVE Brazil and the people.  They are so happy and just very very approachable.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time here—it went way too fast.  I need to come back sometime–and my visa is good for 5 years!  Haha 😉

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