Today was a crazy, yet amazing day! In the morning we went to the school “Manos Mensajeras” (pictured below) and it was a really great experience! I was able to interact with the students more during the lessons and help them do the activities. I really enjoyed this morning and felt a lot more comfortable conversing using what Peruvian Sign Language(PSL) I had picked up, as well as what Spanish I knew.
The rest of the day was very interesting and my Spanish was tested quite a bit! In the afternoon we went to Señales (Scripture Union), and I was definitely more involved there! Our Spanish interpreter showed up late, so I was voluntold to be the interpreter since apparently I was the only one that knew enough Spanish to try and figure it out. It was so nerve-wracking! I apologized multiple times to the PSL interpreters there for my weak Spanish, but they were so kind, and between my broken Spanish, their broken English, and sign language, we were able to figure it out. Still, I was quite relieved when our interpreter arrived and was able to take over. After I was able to revert back to helper and not interpreter, the rest of our time there was quite awesome and I loved seeing the students interacting and being bold to present what they had done during the projects, etc. I met a couple new friends there that I look forward to keeping in contact with.
That evening once we got back to Ernesto’s house, we were supposed to have a meeting there with Susan (the other interpreter in our group), myself, and some PSL interpreters to discuss interpreter issues, etc. We had a plan for what we could discuss at the meeting, but God had other plans. We ended up having about 30-ish people show up, both deaf and hearing, and a variety of topics were discussed, including interpreter training, certification, rights, etc.; Parents advocating for their deaf children; and deaf individuals advocating for themselves. Susan and I were also asked to share our stories. There were individuals there who were willing and kind enough to jump in and interpret for us when everyone didn’t understand as we spoke in English and signed ASL with a mix of what PSL we knew, but while I was sitting watching Susan tell her story, the Lord just impressed upon me that I needed to speak in Spanish when I told my story. I immediately started to feel really nervous again, but when I stood up and started to speak in Spanish and sign, all nervousness just vanished and the Lord gave me total peace. It was so awesome! My Spanish was by no means perfect and I needed to ask Ernesto a few times for the Spanish word for something, but I was able to get the information across and no one asked for clarification or an interpretation. I apologized at the end for my broken Spanish, but everyone was so gracious and said I was clear. By the end of that meeting, I knew I had my first clear instruction of something I needed to do once I returned to the U.S. – stop procrastinating and improve my Spanish!
Overall it was an awesome, but mentally exhausting day! If you want to see more pictures from my trip, check out the photo gallery!