September 9, 2010, Jamaica: Day 8

Today began with a day of classes. After class, some of the students headed to the “Goshen House” (The apartment of the Program Director) in order to have some down time before Deaf Bible Study.

Rachel made dinner for the students, and her marshmallows, atop the sweet potato casserole , swelled up and almost consumed the pan in which they were supposed to be cooked.

As we headed out to leave for church, we saw an amazing Caribbean sunset. We couldn’t pass up the photo opportunity. We then piled into our vehicle “Jamaican style” (AKA packed in like sardines).

Each Thursday the students have the opportunity to attend the Deaf Bible Study held in Mandeville. Here they are exposed to Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals communicating in American Sign Language (ASL) and Jamaican Sign Language (JSL). Students were able to chat with local Deaf adults and improve their receptive and expressive ASL skills. Additionally, the students journal new signs introduced in ASL/JSL. The Bible studies are hosted by Damian Campbell, the Deaf Pastor from the Jamaican Deaf Village (JDV). Damian brought the students up to be introduced. Culturally, Deaf people assign a “name sign” for people within the Deaf community. Some of our students did not have name signs, and the Deaf locals were able to give them their name signs during this time. This is an exciting part of being involved in the Deaf community. The name sign given will stay with the students for the rest of their lives. Instead of having to spell their name out letter by letter, a name sign is used, and people then know who is being discussed. We enjoyed a very visual and animated Bible story in ASL/JSL. Some of the students got right to work by helping out with child care during the Bible study.

Carrie, with her long blonde hair, was a big hit with the CODAs (Children of Deaf Adults) there. They are not used to this type of hair, so the kids wanted to touch, braid, style, and comb her hair.

The kids enjoyed spending time with the “whities” as we are commonly called.

We had two late comers to the Bible study. Lindsay and Kayla were stranded for hours getting their “hair did” by a local. They enjoyed the cultural experience of being with the locals for several hours while their hair was being braided.

The day came to a close, and we all headed home. Yet another great day in Jamaica!