Wanted to post again and update you on what my daily life looks like now! Since "Maya" and Brittany came back the end of February it has been an adjustment to what our daily routine will be. For the most part it has been pretty consistent the last couple of months, and the other day I realized I hadn't shared with you all what exactly my days are like now. So I will use this time to update you on that.
M-F Mornings - After Brittany works with Maya from 9am-10am she has snack, and then I work with her until noon. In the mornings we do our bble story time. We always start out with speaking to the Father. Recently we made cards with people's names on them, and everyday we each choose a couple of cards and pray for those people. This is something I've recently done to introducing the idea of praying for others. After that then we do some song time. Everyday we watch/sign two praise songs either from Deaf Harbor, or Dr. Wonder's Workshop. I think this is her favorite part of the whole day! Not only does she get to watch something on the computer, but it has sound AND it's music, both of which she loves!
After this we go into a bble story. It has been challenging to teach her the stories because often she is not interested, and the children books don't have good pictures that show the whole story, but I have been able to find some good resources to help with that. We also do a craft or color something related to the story. If there is time left we might do a puzzle, game, or worksheet depending on what we are going over that week.
Recently I have seen her make some connections with the stories I have been teaching her which is HUGE since most of the time I think it goes in one eye and out the other! One day we were outside and it was sprinkling. She turned and looked at me and signed "It's raining! Maybe boat, maybe flood!" Then one day last week I was trying to explain to her the story of Joseph and how his brothers told their father that Joseph was dead. She then referenced a situation that happened about a month and a half ago when we were at the airport and we saw a man die. She asked if he came back to life like J. I had to explain to her that only J come back to life because He is G. That lead us to a discussion about her being scared when the week before she couldn't breathe because she got water in hole still in her neck from the trache. I explained that G helped her and that she didn't die, and we need to thank Him for that! All of those connections she is making from our lessons to real life has been REALLY cool to see!
Monday Afternoon - At 1:15 "Maya" and I head to school where the other kids go, so she can take part in Art and P.E. with the kindergarteners.
This also has been challenging to teach her how to behave. Not only has she had to learn how to sit and do what she is told, but also to watch me and let me interpret for her. Finally the last couple of weeks has gone really well, and she has done really well in her behavior and understanding of me interpreting for her.
Tuesday Afternoon/Evening - Since December I have been doing sign language lessons/practice with the two Deaf ladies I have told you about in a previous post. We start out with tea and snacks and then go into the topic of signs that I want to learn. We meet for three hours, and after this I'm exhausted! It's gotten less tiring now, but I am still spent after three hours practicing this new language! In the evenings I'm a part of a B study with several ladies from the hearing church I attend. It has been a really great time for me to get to know other likeminded people who are also serving here.
Wednesday Afternoon/Evening - Wednesday afternoon I work with Maya again from 1p-3p. I don't have a set routine work with her, but mostly I try to spend time reading with her and playing educational games with her. The afternoons tend to be more challenging with her attention and willingness to do things, so I try to change it up and do something she is interested in. In the evening after dinner around 7p I do a sign language lesson with the family for about 1 hour. It has been challenging for me to try to find content that fits the varying levels of skill, and will also be interactive and novel. It's been good though, and recently I have started giving them homework to watch a signed story. I think that has been really helpful.
Thursday Afternoon - On Thursdays after I work with Maya, we both go to school at noon to have lunch with the kindergarten class and I help out by doing lunch duty that day. After lunch from 12:30p-1:15p I do a sign language lesson for the kindergarten class so they can have better communication with Maya. It's been really good for Maya to see them learning to sign and try to communicate with her in class. They are really cute and do pretty well! After this I then teach a sign language class for the Jr and Sr high. I only have five students, but they do really well too! It is really cool to see them interacting with Maya when they come in contact with her. After I get done at 3:30pm I go home and rest a little bit before dinner, and also spend time doing some lesson plans.
Friday Afternoon/Evening - Friday afternoons are pretty much the same as Monday afternoons. I spend another two hours with Maya, and try to read with her, play games with her, play pretend with her etc. Mostly just trying to interact and sign with her as much as possible...I know that's what she really needs, lots of language input! Then at 5pm I leave to go to Deaf believers gathering. The leader lives in the same part of town I do so he and his wife come pick me up on their way into church. Church goes until 8pm and then we all have tea and snacks after that. We normally leave around 9:30p or 10pm, which means I don't get home until 10:30p or 11p!
Weekends - On the weekend I try to rest, lesson plan, and get ready for the new week. I also try to meet up with someone in efforts to build more relationships here. In this country relationships are SO important. People won't listen to what you have to say until they know you. Until recently I hadn't spent much time meeting up with Deaf people on the weekends because most live so far away and I have been insecure about my communicative abilities. Recently though I have been able to do that more, and also video message with people more. I know that relationship piece is vital to starting discipleship relationships, so I am really trying to be better about setting those up.
Another thing I do on weekends is teach the family how to sign a song that will be in sung in the Sunday morning service at church. I always translate for Maya at church before she goes to children's lesson, and she tends to only want to actively participate when others are also signing. So, since there are a lot of songs, every week I pick one, translate it, and teach it to the family so Maya isn't the only one signing. She really likes it when they are also participating.
Other - Something else that I coordinate once a month is have a meeting to talk to the father about the local Deaf community. There are two expat families and a single woman here who have a connection with the Deaf community elsewhere and have a heart for Deaf people. The group also consists of a couple of local ladies. One whose father and uncle are Deaf, and another who has been learning the local sign language and desires to share the father's word with the Deaf people here. We meet once a month and pray over different areas of life for Deaf people here (education, access, employment, scripture access, hearts open to the father etc.).
I have become good friends with the single woman in this group and we actually are planning on living together next year. She has been here for two years with her company, and has been trying to figure out what part of her organization that she wants to work in long term. In the past she has been interesting in sign language B translation, but was not really sure. Since I have been here, and after she started doing the local sign language lesson with me she has decided to work in sign language translations for her career path! After one more year here she will come home to the states, and then do the same linguistic schooling that I have gone through and get the same degree that I have! :-)
Another thing we have going on here is working with an organization to start sign language B translation here! I am trying to introduce the idea of sign language B to the Deaf brothers and sisters I know here, and so far it has been positive. Please be talking to the father that people would be interested in starting this project here. Last week I had the opportunity to share my testimony of how I became first became a sister in Him to the Deaf congregation here, and how I came about to be here. I also was able to use some sign language translation that was released in a sign language that is similar to what is used here in my presentation. I think it went really well, and they seemed to really like the content of what I had to share.
I see the father working in big ways here among the Deaf community here, and I am excited to see more of the role I can play here in His word being advanced here among this people group!
Maya signing a song during our bble lesson.
Mock situation for sign language lesson :-)
Music in the Deaf gathering!