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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Tue Mar 30, 1999  4:22 pm
Subject:  Re: Nicaraguan SW Report

On Tue, 23 Mar 1999, James Shepard-Kegl wrote:
>Last fall, Valerie graciously allowed me to share with all of you on this
>mailing list our plans to address some of the needs of Deaf Nicaraguans in
>the area affected by Hurricane Mitch. Just to update everyone, we are
>actively training Deaf adults to be teachers in the new school we are
>setting up in Condega (in the center of the flood area). We ran a sign
>language workshop in Condega for ten days in December. The first intensive
>session, using three Deaf teachers from the Bluefields school, starts April
>7 and will run two months. We were asked to take 70 children, but that
>would swamp us, so we reduced the initial enrollment to 30. SW, of course,
>will be a part of the curriculum, although at this stage we are more
>interested in bringing Nicaraguan Sign Language to these children. Fluency
>first, reading and writing afterwards. Many of our storybooks have been
>translated into SW (Babar, Taily-Po, Little Engine that Could, Anansi the
>Spider, Trojan Horse, Odysseus and the Cyclops, Odysseus and Circe, etc.)
>-- James Shepard-Kegl

March 30, 1999

Thanks, James, for this report - it meant a lot to hear from you. Your
project, the Nicaraguan Sign Language Projects is really remarkable - I
can't get over your dedication and strength in facing all the hardships of
a devasting flood in Nicaragua, and then creating a second school for Deaf
children in that area, plus flying some Deaf children to the Bluefields
school on the other side of the country! Under the hardest conditions you
are succeeding.

While you were in the middle of all this in Nicaragua.....I was watching
BBC news on television one day, and they reported a terrible plane crash.
The report explained that all were killed, flying from Managua to
Bluefields, and I realized that you and your Deaf children could easily
have been on that plane. I was relieved to hear that all of you are OK, but
I also understand that some of your staff lost family members? I am so
sorry to hear this. It really brings home how difficult life is in

I am glad to know that you are using SignWriting in both of your schools
for the Deaf, and I hope you will keep us informed of your progress with
them. You have done so many translations into SignWriting! Perhaps it is
time to place some of them in our SignWriting Library Online?

We do have an example of one story written in Nicaraguan Sign Language on
our web site at the moment:

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie

But we could post more stories written in Nicaraguan Sign Language if you
wish. I am slowly building the SW Library will take several
years, but will become a valuable resource in time.

Thanks again for your report, and good luck with your new semester starting
April 7th!

Valerie :-)

Valerie Sutton


The DAC, Deaf Action Committee for SW
Center For Sutton Movement Writing
an educational nonprofit organization
Box 517, La Jolla, CA, 92038-0517, USA

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