The opening ceremony took place in the same place it was held last year- the National Human Rights Commission. Again like yesterday, the event was not very well-attended. Some dignitaries who attended included the representatives from the Ministeries of Women Affairs and Social Development, Education and the Federal Capital Territory. The Ambassador of Netherlands to Nigeria, Mr. Bert Ronhaar, his wife Mrs. Hanneke Ronhaar and Mrs. Madeleine Collie were very gracious to attend the ceremony to lend their support. I finally got to meet the National President of the Deaf Women Association of Nigeria; popularly and fondly known as 'Mama Deaf'. The amiable,young Senior Special Adviser to the Adamawa State Governor on Disability Matters, Umar Tukur also attended.
There was a slight change to the slogan which is now ' Nothing about the Deaf without the Deaf FULLY INVOLVED'. That gives a better twist to show that deaf people should be inclusive and proactively in the forefront of everything that affects them- not sitting like ducks on the ground to be swept in any direction that the water takes us to. The messages in the speeches given by speakers were mostly optimistic. That means only one thing- the Deaf are not going to give up! For all that is worth, the hearing community should be happy to encourage the deaf community to achieve its goal to function as valuable members of the society.
Who says dramas are not interesting? By this, I mean a silent performance by the Silent Afro Mime Theatre. The theme was about a young deaf girl whose father ,out of ignorance, took her to the imam, 'white garment' prophet and a 'babalawo' ( a traditional mystic) in efforts to find a solution to her 'deafness'. One of them even suggested to the father that the girl is a witch and turns into a bird. Oh, do not let me get started on the emotional abuses (and physical, verbal abuses) that deaf people particularly children go through in the hands of family members who perceive deafness as 'abnormal'. The drama cuts to a scene in which the girl's mother who upon discovering that her husband took their daughter to these so-called mystics was very angry. A fight almost ensued but is cut short by a neighbor who chastises the husband for his actions and who admonishes him that the girl could well be better than him when she grows up. Another scene shows the cheerful girl who has started attending school and eager to show her mother and that neighbor all that she learnt in school. After much persuasion from her mother and the neighbor, she shows her new signing skills/ socabulary to her father who has been 'commanded' to learn sign language in order to communicate with her.
I managed to take some photos of the silent mime and I will upload them soon.