A few weeks ago, I was privileged to visit many of the deaf classes initiated by Serve in Dust-e Bar-chi. In the early morning, I traveled with my friend Tanya to the Serve office to meet her colleagues and to understand what Serve is accomplishing in Afghanistan for the deaf and others with disabilities. I was shown the Braille room where they are printing school books for the blind and was able to touch Braille for the first time. For the deaf, Serve trains interpreters and sets up and supervises many levels of deaf classes.
We soon set off to Dust-e Bar-chi to visit the classes. First we stopped at an elementary class where I was able to watch the teacher teach the deaf students. The teacher used a Dari learning book and would have the deaf student point at each word as it came in the sentence and have him sign it. It was a quick succession of point, sign, point, sign. Now this class held about twenty to thirty kids and only eight were deaf.
Then we traveled on to visit a physically disabled class, a blind class, and a deaf kindergarten class. The KG class was held in a room of a family’s home. It was a class created to teach deaf children how to read, write and sign before they graduated to an elementary class. They were so excited to see us. They showed off their signing abilities and raced to be the first to answer a question. While I was there I even learned some Afghan Sign Language.
After lunch, we headed over to the American University were I sat in on a deaf college class. It was so different from the deaf students in the younger grades because the college students were more in my age range and their sign abilities were far superior. I was able to practice the basic signs I had learned that morning and they were delighted to respond. My friend explained to them that I was going to study American Sign Language and kind of jokingly said that if we prayed really hard I might come back to work in Kabul after college. They looked my way and I just smiled. Who knows? God may just place me back here some day.
By the time we left, it was in the middle of the afternoon. It had been a great day but I was exhausted, and my brain was full. Meeting the deaf in Kabul was an amazing experience for me. It has helped me solidify my choice in pursuing a major in American Sign Language and has opened a door for me to come back to Kabul someday it that is God’s will. Blessings, Winter