March 15, 2011
When you grow an orchard, you’ll have a few bad crops. But you keep trying and it’ll turn into bountifuls of beautiful trees with perfected apples that drop seeds nearby and carried afar to grow more.
I discovered my advocacy passion through my Communication Studies major, then it grew when I worked at the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind on an internship from college. The first years were a challenge, I had new lessons to learn about my new Deafblind identity and the ‘new’ community I would work and socialize with. The norms and culture became part of me also the desire to fight and resolve many problems the Deafblind were having so they could be independent.
In the years that passed I found myself active in several well-known protests for our rights, an employee of the national Canadian government, a volunteer that served overseas in West Africa for two years building capacity for the disabled. I felt that not using the skills, education and passion I had towards the impoverished, illiterate, isolated and oppressed disabled people around the world would be a waste.
At this point in my life at thirty-one years old, I find myself calling Nepal home and as a director of the Nepal Deafblind Project and leading an independent life in a developing country as a very low vision Deaf woman. I saw opportunity in Nepal when I first set foot back in April of 2010 and met many Deafblind who were mostly illiterate in written language and sign language, isolated and oppressed.
I have an apple basket full of lessons taught to me by wonderful, wonderful teachers (you know who you are) who were my trees that grew me as an apple with plenty of seeds to sow.
My seed in Nepal has created a treeling that will hopefully grow strong roots in the country, one where the Deafblind are firm and vibrant apples with their own seeds to sow.
Grow strong with tactile love,