Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Review of My Time in Kisii

This is not a long review, just memories of little incidents as they come to me.

This first relates not just to my latest visit, but I will relate the last occasion that I found this funny.

Now, I am sure that many of you have seen this simple finger trick:

I don't know when or where I first picked it up, but I seem to have been able to do it forever.

Anyway, when confronted with a gaggle of rural Kenyan kids, this is what I show them, particularly one little boy, Simon, who is deaf, and his friend and signer, Brian. Simon is the one with his finger in his mouth.

Both kids were amazed and tried for a long time to do this and eventually, with a little help, they succeeded.

The sounds of pleasure that Simon made when he succeeded were special. He had a grin on his face as he "talked" to Brian and Vincent, who can also sign.

Maybe I should learn to sign as well. I am sure that Simon isn't the only deaf kid who will cross my path in Kenya.

But is signing in Kenya the same as over here in the UK? I don't know. Can anyone tell me, please?

UPDATE: There is a specific language in Kenya, KSL or Kenyan Sign Language. This language is to become an official language in Kenya, if it hasn't already. Other European and US sign languages are used in a few schools in Kenya, but KSL is the norm.

There is a school for the deaf, staffed by deaf people in Kisii. It is the only one of its kind in Kenya a far as I can make out. Did Simon go there? I doubt it. He and his friend Brian were two of the scruffiest, grubbiest kids I have seen in Kenya.


savvy said...

I have tried and tried..but gave up on that trick.

I should think sign language is the same throughout the world, right? I mean the sign language teachers learn standard signs from the Kenya Insitute for Education.

Dad Mzungu said...

Unfortunately, sign language is not universal, even in Kenya, although they are standardising KSL. So, unless I can find someone locally who can speak KSL, I will have to wait until my next visit.

As to the finger trick, I don't know how or where I got it from, but it fascinates kids of all ages! Generally, girls pick it up quicker than boys for some reason.