16 March 2014

I started our second full day in the DR by walking to the most fabulous bakery, just down the street from our hotel, with a few other students. Once we got back, we headed to Hector’s church to spend the morning integrating into the deaf community around us for the first time! It was an interesting experience, Hector’s church is located on the 3rd floor of another church. So, when we entered, a hearing church service was in full swing; there was loud music and clapping. But when you entered Hector’s third floor chapel there was none of that; it became a different kind of lively experience. There were songs and skits put on by those from the community, all of which were relatively easy to follow in Dominican Sign Language. Once church was finished we just hung out and chatted with those in attendance. One woman had the most adorable two year old boy who would not be stopped for anything – he spent the full church service bopping from chair to chair trying to find some entertainment.

After church we went to lunch with Hector and his wife Belkis – both of whom are amazing people! Lunch was great,  and the resturant had some crazy awesome bread! All too soon lunch came to an end and we headed over to the deaf club. Unfortunately it was closed. So we went back to the hotel and hung out for a few hours. Around 5:30 we went back to the deaf club, which is located adjacent to the National School for the Deaf. This time there were three guys there and we hung out with them for almost 2 hours, learning about the nature of deaf education in the Dominican. But, once the serious conversation was done they taught us how to play pool.
We finished out the day by coming back to the hotel and really ironing out our lesson plans for the next day. This is where the struggle began. How do you plan for the unknown? What my partner and I ended up doing was making a plan, but made allowances for adjustments once the real teaching began. We also did a mock teach, where our other group members pretended to be children, some were definitely accessing their inner child (Stephanie). The day ended at 11 pm, as we all went to sleep dreaming of what the next day would bring.
– Ali Duhan

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