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Volume 1 Issue 2 September 2007

Kuzuzangpo from a Bhutanese! Note: DDW received the below open letter from Bhutan, and felt it perfectly captures the essence of DDW’s goals. Hello Dave and Christy, This article is no longer available.

I heard about your DDW project from [DeafInno longer available. ternational]. Kudos for coming up This with article such a is meaningful project! I’m from the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan and would very much like for you to meet my elder sister, Choki. She was born deaf and has lived in Bhutan all her life. She is now in her early 30s. Because Bhutan does in Bhutan and a project to help the illiterate deaf. not have an official sign language, my family came I’m so happy to learn that the first deaf school in up with a sign language of our own to communicate Bhutan will be complete in November 2007 and curwith her.  Choki does not know or has [not] met any rently has 28 students.  Now children will actually other deaf individuals. Bhutan did not have any deaf have a chance at life and won’t have to live through schools at that time so Choki was not able to get an the same experiences my sister, Choki. How wondereducation. It is my dream to start a school for the deaf ful it is to know that these kids will actually have a

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On Oct. 23, 2007, Dave and Christy begin their journeys by departing from Los Angeles, CA, to Christchurch, New Zealand! d • Di s


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The above letter from Bhutan represents why the Discovering Deaf Worlds project exists. Dave and Christy are traveling the world to learn and share stories of empowerment, inspiration, and connection between international Deaf communities. DDW is an opportunity to give deaf people worldwide a voice. For more information, photos, video logs, and newsletter stories, visit

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What is DDW?

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A Letter from Bhutan, continued on page 5

September 2007

Discovering Deaf Worlds Kick-Off Event at Rowe Photo


Saturday, October 6, 2007 11:00 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.


Rowe Photo, Buckman’s Plaza 2590 West Ridge Road Rochester, NY

• •

Come hear the stories of Deaf natives from Europe, India, Africa, Asia, and elsewhere! Win a month of free African Drum and Dance classes from Bushmango as one of several door prizes! Interpreters will be available and refreshments will be provided.

Join in the celebration of sending Dave and Christy off on their Around the World tour! Contact for details.

Help Us Reach Our Goal!

Shout -Outs! Shout Shout-Outs! -Outs! A huge hearty thank you to: John, Sheila, Nicolaas, Julianne, and Caitlin Justice: we are blown away by your generosity in keeping our dream alive!

Artwork by Yolanda Mosher, Portland, OR, 2007

Donate online at

Discovering Deaf Worlds

Mike Marino of SpeeCo: thank you for your incredible support and believing in us!

A Willing Worker By Shira Grabelsky Guest Writer

symbiotic relationship with one another. For example, a portable chicken home will be One day I packed up my set up so chickens can eat the bags and flew to New Zeagrass and weeds on which they land to work on farms. I live and thus fertilize it, and be didn’t spin a globe and blindmoved when the next batch of ly pick New Zealand; it was grass needs the help of chicknothing romantic like that ens. Permaculture design fo- I’d just heard it was beaucuses on integrating different tiful, so I decided to go. I elements in the environment, joined World Wide Opporsustainable living through Shira Grabelsky in New Zealand tunities On Organic Farms conserving energy, and mini(WWOOF), also known as mizing waste. Willing Workers On OrI so enjoyed my experience I woke up in the wee hours on some ganic Farms, by paying a measly mornings, sidestepped cow dung that I extended my stay for another $40 for membership, and getting so and picked delectable mushrooms week and a half to experience at much in return. least one more farm…at least one with a 92-year-old man. I did not grow up on farms, or any I traveled mostly by bus, stop- more out of the hundreds listed in swath of land near a farm. However, ping in cities and towns that lay in the little green book. This book was I wanted to connect with a part of between farm locales. I made ev- replete with resources and fun. It myself that yearned to do physical ery cent of my bus pass carry me helped me connect to my roots, roots labor to support self-sustainability to the next location. I designed that were detached from me for so and to learn organic growing tech- an almost “figure-eight” traveling long, perhaps because they were inniques. With only the internet and itinerary throughout the country accessible in the environs in which I a little green WWOOF book to and stopped where I pleased. In be- grew up. Now that I am back in the guide me, I set off on a bus through tween farm stays, I climbed the Fox states, and remaining in one place, the North Island. Eventually, I made Glacier, hiked in the Abel Tasman at least for the upcoming year, I’m my way south and ended up back in National Park, sea kayaked in fjord- determined to make sure my roots Auckland two and a half months land, carved a jade necklace, got an keep growing strong by starting a later. ear piercing, volunteered at a Deaf garden and leading a self-sustainBetween March and May of 2005, youth camp, skydived, and ate os- able lifestyle wherever possible. I built a house, harvested rhubarb, trich meat. Join the organic growing movetrimmed garlic, cleaned a pumpkin During my travels, my reading ment, log onto, and patch, picked pears, mowed lawns, list accumulated and my journal get out on the land. cooked apple cakes, painted a roof, thickened with exciting commenShira Grabelsky is a native New removed strangler vines, and was taries, a few recipes shared by my Yorker with wanderlust, having moved engaged in many more other satis- hosts, and learnings about planting, from place to place, for theatre, work, fying jobs. I slept on the floor of a harvesting, and permaculture. Per- school, and fun. She believes there is tiny makeshift home, in trailers, in maculture (permanent agriculture) exchange in any size, shape, or form, to my own cottage, showered outside, is the agricultural practice that uti- be had anywhere you go. She hopes to bathed in a coal-heated claw bath- lizes environmental resources that combine her lifelong learning and fortub, or didn’t shower at all. I cooked are readily available, mimicking the mal education to encourage community ramen, drank wine, picked fresh let- natural structures and relationships building though experiential educatuce and eggs for my lunch, tasted that exist. Permaculture farms are tion and art. Shira currently resides in the delicious kumara and casimiroa. designed for everything to have a Boston. September 2007

A Thank You to Our Sponsors The Next Generation of WebSites Take charge of your site Your website is your brand. It’s you, Your company, appearing in the landscape‌ Take charge today!

Ralph P. DeStephano New Zealand Sign Language Alphabet In each issue, DDW will post the fingerspelled alphabet of a visited country.

For more information on New Zealand sign language, visit 

Discovering Deaf Worlds

this life of disability upon herself.” I think that comes future to look forward to. However, they are still try- from the country being a Buddhist country and believing to develop a sign language with help from a private ing in “Karma” or poetic justice - “if you’re bad in this life, you’ll have to suffer the consequences in your next school in Thailand and CBM International.  For years I have wished that I were born deaf in my life.” Of course, that’s a misinterpretation of the actual family instead of my sister. I have felt guilty indulg- “Karma” but that belief is rampant in the society. People in rural Bhutan have never heard of schools ing myself in an interesting book when Choki couldn’t read. Choki wanted to be able to read and write, to go for the deaf - have never met another deaf person who to school just like I and my siblings did, and then to go is independent and able to lead their own lives they way to work, to have relationships, to travel, to learn about they want. They mostly end up as farmers or workers for other cultures, to make friends from other cultures - all farmers sometimes ridiculed and other times pitied for theiravailable. disability.  And this is the blanket that I am trying of which I have been able to do myself andarticle of which shelonger This is no to uncover, the shade that I am trying to draw open, the has been deprived. My sister is dependent on my mother from buying superstitions that I am trying to wash off.  I desperately groceries to her toiletries. Because the general pub- want to convince my people that there is nothing wrong lic have so little knowledge and awareness of the deaf in being deaf - or for that matter for having any kind of population, they don’t know how to communicate with disability. Every person deserves respect and the right hearing impaired. Please remember that Bhutan is still to live without being pitied.  And every person deserves a very new country.  We’ve been in self-isolation till the an opportunity to live their lives independently if they 1970s. It has just opened up to the world – as recently choose to.  I hope that you would visit Bhutan. I think it would as 1999. Therefore, people are still very superstitious and their views strongly veered by these preconceived be really refreshing for Choki to meet someone who understands her world.  ideas/beliefs. Tashi Delek! My sister has been pitied by other people her whole Tshering life for being born deaf.  I have seen experienced the pain of being on the receiving end of the unnecessary For more information, e-mail Tshering at and undesired pity since I was little. People pity her for what “she must have done in her past life to evoke A Letter from Bhutan, continued from front page

Want a taste of inspiring visuals from around the world? Check out the movie, Baraka! baraka.asp Publication services provided by: T.S. Writing Services

International Travel Tidbits of the Month How do I get home?! If you are in a country where you do not know the language, ask the hotel/hostel front desk for a picture postcard of the hotel or hostel building. Also ask them to write “Please take me to this hotel” on the back of the postcard in the local language. That way, if you get hopelessly lost, you can simply hand the postcard to a taxi driver and get home quickly. Don’t leave home without it! Duct tape comes in handy for so many things when traveling: fixing a tent pole, a makeshift Band-Aid, keeping the sole of your shoe intact, creating a strap/handle to attach a water bottle to your pack, and much more. A compact way to carry duct tape is wrap it around a pencil.

September 2007

September 2007 Newsletter: vol.1, iss.2  

Article on World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) by contributing writer Shira Grabelsky

September 2007 Newsletter: vol.1, iss.2  

Article on World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) by contributing writer Shira Grabelsky