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From:  Valerie Sutton
Date:  Sat Jan 9, 1999  11:20 pm
Subject:  SW Report About Nicaragua

SW Report About Nicaragua
January 9, 1999

I have some news to report about SignWriting in Nicaragua...

I received a telephone call from James Shepard-Kegl last week. I was so
excited to hear from James, because we have missed his energetic postings
to the SignWriting List lately, and I was wondering how they were doing
with the terrible floods in Nicaragua. For those new to the List, James and
Judy Shepard Kegl are Americans who founded a school for Deaf children in
Bluefields, Nicaragua, which is on the eastern coast of the country, a very
poverty-stricken area.

They have used SignWriting in the Bluefields school for several years now,
and Deaf children are becoming fluent in reading and writing Nicaraguan
signs. They continue to develop more written literature in Nicaraugan Sign
Language. They are translating Moby Dick right now (can you believe)! And
some students are becoming skilled at typing with SignWriter 4.3 too. may remember the terrible floods that occurred in western
Nicaragua and Honduras in 1998? Many people died, and James and Judy
collected funds and then James flew to a western Nicaraguan city, a small
rural town near Honduras, and he gathered deaf people together there...and
guess what?! They founded a second school for the deaf! This was in
November, 1998. And, they started teaching them SignWriting
immediately...and James told me on the phone that the new deaf students
learned it quickly and love it. They are already reading because of the
enthusiasm from the other students.

In summary, this is what has happened since October...James flew to flood
ravaged Nicaragua and went up in the hills to find deaf people...they
established a new school there....they started teaching them signs and
SignWriting immediately...they flew some of those deaf students to
Bluefields on the other side of the country so that the new deaf students
could attend class with the students in Bluefields...they started their
winter schedule of classes in Bluefields on schedule, even with all this
confusion...and on top of all that...back in the USA, James and Judy moved
their residence of many years in New Jersey, up to snowy cold Maine, where
they now will be working with the Deaf Community there, whenever they are
not in Nicaragua! From floods to snow...gosh ...what amazing people :-)

So when James returns from the winter semester of school in Bluefields in a
few months, we will hear from him on the SignWriting List again. I am
looking forward to what he has to say about the new students learning

James and I only had a ten minute conversation on the phone. I sat in
silence after we hung up, thinking of the miracle - that SignWriting was
being used in the hills of Nicaragua...

You can read more on the web:

SignWriting In Nicaragua

There is also a linguistic research study, posted in its entirety on the web:

Literacy In Nicaraguan Sign Language


Valerie :-)

Valerie Sutton at 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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