Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Closing Statement

What can I tell you? This campus is a special place, the people here are special people, and these are extraordinary times. No one knows what the future will hold for the deaf and the not-deaf but one thing is clear: there’s still this moment on which to write that future, to define it, to direct it the way you’d like it to go.

Go high, child! Go to the light!

Can you imagine? I met a man two weeks ago whom, since retiring from the plumbing business in Canada, has spent his time and savings empowering deaf people throughout the third world. His method is ingenious – he’s created a company, Godisa, which designed and makes hearing aids with solar powered batteries. The aids cost a measly 100 bucks, the batteries last for two or three years. Best of all, all the assembly is done in Botswana by signing deaf employees. Their language has graced them with spectacular hand-eye coordination, perfect for fine soldering work.


If that’s not enough, Godisa’s latest factory will open in Jordan and will employ, I kid you not, young deaf adults from Jordan, Palestine, and Israel. Christian, Jew, Muslim -- I can see them now, crossing the borders at dusty checkpoints beneath enormous middle eastern skies peeled of all filter, clocking in, signing excitedly to their workmates, finishing an aid and holding it up and feeling within them that sensational wordless growing, that “yes, I made this,” that “yes, I am of value,” that “I have a purpose,” “I am perfect just as I am," "This world needs me!"

The plumbing executive, by the way, wants no credit or praise. He isn’t deaf, nor is anyone in his family. You see wrong, he says, you have to try and make it right. You have to.

Evenings, the workers walking back home tired and content, buying their families dinner, leaning down to pick up small children who run to greet them. Dogs lope between their heels. They kiss their husbands and wives.



There’s something stirring. In this school, this country, this world. All around are reminders of our possibility. What we could be. The map to the better world has been found. The ships have been loaded. We gather together...


Ho! A stranger smiles at your smile.

And if they say: You’re not good enough; you’re deaf. You’re not good enough; you’re black. You’re not good enough; you’re too young. You’re not good enough; you’re old. You’re not good enough; you don’t understand that this world is a bitter and cruel place. You’re not good enough; your God is worse than mine. You’re not good enough; you…



You’re good enough.

3 Comments:

Blogger Valerie said...

This is a great post. And kudos to the work that Godisa is doing.

I'm currently reading your book (in fact I mentioned it briefly in a recent blog post of mine, and plan to say more about it after I finish reading it). Just finished the chapter about the angry mob retiliating for a murder. Reading that chapter literally had my hair standing on end.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Karen Putz said...

Thanks for sharing about the amazing work that plumber is doing. I take it that he doesn't want to be identified?

5:55 AM  
Anonymous Erin said...

Great post - I have met him too and his work is really cool!

12:30 PM  

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