Wednesday, 23 November 2011

When someone makes an effort to communicate in your language, it is only natural for you to open up. That goes for everyone in the world; be it in Mandarin to a native speaker in Beijing, in French to a waiter in a cafe on the street of Paris.

When it comes to deaf people meeting other deaf people, I have a great story which was told by my friend, J. During one of her frequent travels (and which ultimately changed her life), at the airport, a man tapped on her shoulders and signed to her when he saw that she also wore hearing-aids. Known for not 'talking' to strangers easily, she warmed up to him and to cut the long story short, they got married. She a deaf African-British and he a deaf Slovakian. Interesting, isn't it? Language barrier somewhat overcome in this case.

According to wikipedia, (which I would need to verify from a friend who is a World Federation of the Deaf exec.) there is what is called 'international sign'. Which was what Kohei used.   

'International Sign (IS) (........ International Sign Language (ISL), International Sign Pidgin...........) is an international auxiliary language sometimes used at international meetings such as the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) congress, events such as the Deaflympics, and informally when travelling and socialising. It can be seen as a kind of pidgin sign language, which is not as conventionalised or complex as natural sign languages and has a limited lexicon.' International Sign Pidgin? Cool, I must say!

Talking about airports, I found it interesting that while I was booking for a ticket online on one of the recently-launched airline traversing NGR's skyline, I saw 'special requirements'. Not one from shying away things like that as a traveller, I clicked on 'deaf passenger' but unfortunately, the booking could not be completed online. I would so love to see what happens if they knew a deaf passenger was coming. Well, it is just not good to miss a flight especially in NGR so I give Abuja airport a 0/10 for absence of visual and extremely poor audio announcements. However, I give them 4/10 because a staff was happy to inform his colleague at the departure lounge to help me out. A minus was given because he wanted my mobile number just so that he could alert me when it was time for boarding (???)

Asking directions from strangers get mixed reactions from me because I have had several instances particularly in Lagos where I have been misdirected. But that is not going to kill my lobe for travelling. I DO love to travel. However, for a hearing person, it can be stressful and even more challenging for those with hearing loss.

The travel bug bite is still very itchy.....

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