Tag Archive for 'sounds'

KSL

My Kenyan Sign Language is coming along.  A typical day in training
consists of morning KSL class, followed by some sort of health or
safety-related lecture, lunch, then a trip to a deaf school to interact
and watch classes in action.  Pre-lunch everything is pretty well
containd in the hotel.  To get to lunch we usually walk as a giant
group, moving through Mombasa like some fat albino snake, getting lots
of stares and the occasional shout.  People yell “Jambo” here at whites,
which means “hello,” but it’s reserved for our pleasure exclusively.
Sometimes other words are peppered in, like “Jambo Obama Hakuna Matada,”
which playfully mocks us as we pass.  I say playfully because I sense no
ill will.  It seems mostly like a way to be a funny guy in your group of
friends.  We rarely (as in single digit) see other white people.  I
generalize about he whiteness of our group, however, because the entire
group is not white, but the fact that the fat albino snake has a few
spots doesn’t draw any less attention.

Lunch is usually taken in a relatively small storefront (think
hole-in-the-wall Mexican food in San Diego).  The signs in town and the
menus are in English— I see very little Swahili in general, and as you
may have gathered, we are not in touristville.  I still have little
sense of what the menu items are, so I order at random, and with the
exception of the stinky pungent intestines with corn meal (eaten with my
hands, as customary), I haven’t had anything with a surprising taste.  I
usually get a cold Coke in a bottle with lunch.  There’s rarely AC
anywhere, and although I’m getting used to the oppressive humidity, a
cold Coke does wonders for my morale.  If only it were a Dr. Pepper…

From lunch we typically follow the existing volunteers, who are our
unofficial guides around town, as they flag a giant van that has enough
empty seats.  In Mombasa, at least 50% of traffic is made up of these
vans.  We pile in, and others come and go while we wait for our stop.
“Stops” happen whenever someone bangs the side of the van from the
inside to indicate they want off.  If there are too many empty seats,
the van’s tax collector jumps out and tries to get people to pile in to
fill it up again.  We each pay our 15 shillings (about 25 cents) and we
get out.

At school today I actually carried on a semi-effective conversation with
some new deaf adults.  I am still signing at baby-level, but it people
sign slowly and repeat a lot, I eventually seem to get it.  I am really
starting to enjoy “deaf sounds”  Deaf individuals obviously do not
depend on sound to communicate, but they still make them.  Laughing and
the like are more accentuated in some deaf individuals, often I think
because is is possible to do it while you continue to communicate.  In
the speaking world, it’s one or the other.  Similarly, sounds that I can
only describe as “squeals of delight” occur much more often.  They are
often quiet and sustained while the signing continues, which adds
another level of understanding for the hearing like myself, because it
conveys another level on top of linguistic and facial expression.  I
really enjoy the classroom for this reason.

We’re about to head to dinner as I write this offline (will post
later).   I visited Fort Jesus (no joke) earlier this evening and hope
to go back when there is more light to check it out and to get a better
view of the Indian Ocean!

1 Response to “KSL”


  • Hi Paul, hope you are having a blast! It must be extemely interesting in what you are seeing and experiencing. It is Thanksgiving weekend in Naples I did the usual and purchased a turkey dinner that was already cooked and all I had to do was warm it up. Safest dinner I ever made. I really enjoyed all your updates and look forward to reading more of the super keen adventure. Stay safe and well
    Love you
    greg

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