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EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Frank Gallimore




KISSFIST Magazine is published four times a year in March, June, September, and December by Pelican Ave Inc in Worcester, Massachusetts. All rights reserved. This is issue number 9, released on October 27th, 2010. The opinions expressed by KISSFIST Magazine contributors are just that -- opinions. While we strive to ensure that all information are obtained through reliable sources, Pelican Ave Inc is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Pelican Ave Inc is not liable for any claims, losses, or damages of any kind, arising from the wording, text, graphics, or representations of any content published herein. We also reserve the right to refuse submissions or advertisment when deemed unsuitable. POWERED BY the signing community


Hello Readers! It’s been a stellar year for us, and this KISSFIST endeavor has been a big part of it, keeping us in touch with what has turned out to be an ever-expanding world of art, photography, poetry, and so on. You’ll find this issue is no exception. We showcase international stories from Russia and Cambodia, as well as some new additions like D-PAN’s Meet the Artist Series. There’s some advice for those of you looking to trim the pounds or just live more healthy lives. There’s some provocative writing and, as always, some truly remarkable photography. It’s our great fortune that we can continue to fill these pages with work we think you’ll really love. We wouldn’t do it otherwise. Thanks for your patience. The question of the day, of course, is why the September issue is coming out at the end of October. As I said, it’s been a stellar year. My sister (yes, our lovely and talented art director) will be honored at the Pearls event, hosted by THE M PROJECTS, along with twenty other dynamic women on June 4th. Kudos to her! But most of all, it’s a stellar year because my brother, sister, and I are all having kids for the first time. When you look around, you’ll find a photo of my little nephew Jace somewhere in this issue. And in fact, as I write this, my brother’s new daughter Julia is enjoying her first day. Welcome to the family, Julia. In light of all these new and very pleasant surprises, KISSFIST will take a break for the holidays and not release a December issue this year. But have no fear, we will be back in March of 2011. In the meantime, keep those submissions coming! Your creativity, your readership, and your contributions are what keep this magazine going. So thank you, and happy reading.


Two months after graduating I met my ex-boyfriend and he is deaf as well as his entire family. After a few months, signing with him became like second nature. I still have much more to learn about signing and the culture but my boyfriend certainly reignited the passion I had at the beginning of my first ASL class. Now I am living in New York City and going to school again, this time for photography at the Fashion Institute for Technology. I am still interested in learning as much about the Deaf culture and American Sign Language as possible, hoping to become fluent and to remain a part of the Deaf culture for the remainder of my life.

BONNIE RUSSELL P.24, 40, 78 I was born Deaf to Deaf parents in Ontario, Canada. I have three Deaf siblings along with Deaf relatives. In 1999, I graduated Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Nine years later, I returned to Gallaudet University and earned my Masters in Mental Health Counseling. Currently, I work at the Canadian Hearing Society as a Mental Health Counsellor for the CONNECT Counselling Services. Since a young age, photography to me has been a way of feeling, of touching, and of loving. Photography rocks my world.


I had taken other language courses during my college years including Japanese and French, but my first ASL class had that something special to make me fall in love with the Deaf culture.

I developed my tography when experimenting in in the basement

In 2006, I started seriously and am full time photog

ALISHA MCGRAW P. 26, 49, 86


passion in film phoI was a young boy, n my own darkroom t.

d taking photograpy m now working as a graher.

ADREAN CLARK P. 38 I am a deaf cartoonist based in Minnesota. My books are 8 Ways to be Deaf and The Census Taker and Other Deaf Humor. Both are available at:

In 2005 I started my photography business professionally while I was in college. In 2007 I graduated from CSU Northridge with a B.A. in Deaf Studies ASL/English interpreting. My husband and I moved to San Diego and now I hold 2 professional careers; one in full time photography and the other in part time interpreting for the Deaf at the community college district. It is a juggling act at times, but they are both my passion and both an important part of my life.



i like to have fun. boredom is my enemy. i spend too much money on traveling. i like subway. i live in novi, michigan. get to know me.

I am a recreational photographer who enjoys taking pictures of landscapes, wildlife, and her son. I also work as a a dedicated teacher of Deaf students and an active member of my community. I just recently completed my first photography course - an online course from the Photography Institute - April 2010.


I love my big hot Camera along with my Dell Studio don’t use MAC). nights pouring my into designing fun puter!



t shot Canon 5D h goodies!!! And Laptop! (Gasp..I I spend my late y creativite juice stuff on my com-

ORES P.36, 64

Ronise Barreras, a deaf traveler. Photo taken by Meng Sek "I love Cambodia & Coconut" in Siem Reap, Cambodia the day before Christmas. (2008) Featured story about Ronise is on page 90.


Meet the Artists Series


Watch These Hands

Written by Sean Forbes


e’s a comedian, a storyteller, and an actor who hosts a monthly “open-mic” event in New York City called “ASL Slam”. He just recently finished filming a short-film called “Transients” with talented deaf filmmaker Rhianon Gutierrez. In the film he plays Sal, a deaf drummer. At the end of the day the multitalented Douglas Ridloff is an ASL artist who aims to entertain the masses. Born and raised in Queens, New York, Douglas was born profoundly deaf to hearing parents who are both educators. Growing up he loved to perform stories for his family and his friends at school. This is where he developed his craft, which led him and a friend to create a live show called “ASL in the Raw,” which had a successful 3 year run and helped Douglas further develop his craft. Since 2007 he has been performing solo everywhere from Michigan, New Orleans and onto California doing things his way.

DOUGLAS RIDLOFF Not only is Douglas a performer, he is an educator like his parents. He teaches storytelling to high school students at a public school in New York City where he is inspired everyday. He credits twelve of his students for helping him craft his latest ABC story called “ASL KO” which he aims to literally knock you out. Watch the “ASL KO” trailer here. Plans to release “ASL KO” in its entirety are in the works. He is working with two Chicago based musicians to add music and sounds into the video that he feels will help make this a well-rounded ABC story. There are plans in place to release “ASL KO” through iTunes as a podcast. Douglas has also formed his own production company called S4nses, which he aims to create videos by and for people who use ASL. Douglas Riddlof is a man on a mission, and we look forward to seeing more of his work. D-PAN.COM

Photo courtesy of Lauren Ridloff

SportsMX is gearing up for a Global Photo Contest, which is slated to start in November 2010. We are proud to present you the following judges who will participate in the photo contest, selecting winners every month. Ashton Jean-Pierre from London, England; Paul Rutowski from Austin, Texas, and Missy Keast, from Prescott, Arizona. Between them are years of photography experience and vast creative juices going through their mind, heart, eyes and hands. Please join us in welcoming the judges. Keep your eyes peeled for the official SportsMX Global Photo Contest in November 2010. Hand-wave.

Ashton Jean-Pierre

Paul Rutowski

Missy Keast

Ashton Jean-Pierre

Paul Rutowski



Steven Walsh



Four students descend upon a tropical rain forest resort in Costa Rica with the purpose of having an adventure for a vacation at an aunt’s place. Beautiful waterfalls and lush green jungles are the first sign of heaven but there’s also a darker side to paradise. The four are warned not to venture outside after dark. Something from the jungle is stalking the vacationers. Whatever it is, is it protecting a secret or is it something so unspeakable?

a INTRODUCING TWO “BLACK SAND” ACTORS (Take a look at next four pages)

Photo courtesy of Wes Klain


TOMMY S. KORN Instead of penning down his own biography, Tommy sits down with himself and does his own Q & A


Q: How old were you when you first started acting? I was seven years old at that time when I did a 12-series ASL educational film with DeBee Productions. And then I started doing theater shows in middle school as well as writing plays for my performing art class. I learned that I feel right at home when I am on stage. My aunt Jeanne is also an actress and model, she coached me and taught me some acting exercises that really help me express myself comfortably and confidently. Q: Modeling? I recognized my interest in fashion modeling during my mid-college years and did a first fashion show in NYC and then in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. I also did numerous photo shoots with promient photographers from LA, NYC and DC. Q: What was it like working on the set of a phenomenal TV shows like Glee? [chuckles] Well, well... At first, I didn’t have any clue how famous the show was going to be. I was just being myself, meeting most of the Glee cast such as Dianna Argon, Chris Colfer, Cory Monieth and Heather Morris. Cory asked me how to sign “fart” and Heather wanted to know how to sign “1 Tequila... 2 Tequila... 3 Tequila... Floor!” They were just a bunch of fun and cool people. It was totally surreal when I was watching myself on TV. Q: What are your latest projects? I did a movie, Black Sand, where we filmed at Punta Banco Costa Rica for two months. It definitely was a badass experience! I totally enjoyed working with my Director, Mark Wood, Director of Photography, Ruan du Plesiss, and the whole cast/crew. Other than that, I have done fashion shows with Deafinit Models, an LA-based modeling agency run by manager Sheree Devereux. Most recently, I did an improv show called, ASImprov! led by actor/coach, Tyrone Giordano, at Deaf West Theatre in North Hollywood. Q: Are you pumped for the Black Sand red carpet event? You cannot imagine how pumped I am! I am like..I am fist-pumping! I hope to see all of you there! I want to see more Deaf/HoH/CODA films with red carpet festivals in the future. Bringing it into a new, higher level, yo! Q. Thanks for your time, Korn! Like a terminator would say, no problemo.


Born in Bucharest, Romania, Evelina Gaina has lived in North Hollywood, California since she was four years old. She had her first taste of acting when she performed for Twelfth Day of Christmas and was immediately hooked. She attended Deaf West Theatre Summer Acting school where she found her passion for art. From that point on, she has acted onstage for several productions and landed her first television role in CBS’s “Cold Case” (2008). She appeared in “Night Sky” (2009) and had a recurring part on MGW Productions’ “Black Sand” (2010). On the side, she provides American Sign Language storytelling at a deaf/hard of hearing school program and is currently teaching at the Deaf Studies Department at California State University Northridge. Also, she is hosting the Black Sand Red Carpet in Hollywood on December 4th, 2010


na gaina

Photo by Tommy Korn


Bonnie Russell

Photo by Alisha McGraw

Modeled by Rain Bosworth who is a deaf scientist with a Ph.D in Experimental Psychology. She studies infant development as well as visual perception in deaf adults at the Psychology Department at University of California San Diego.

KISSFIST MODEL Rawland Cycles founder Sean Virnig started riding at five when he received his first bike without training wheels. In high school his passion for the bike grew with each hour riding Minnesota country roads on a beloved, steelframed 1992 Bridgestone RB-1, and in the woods on a 1993 MB-2. After a rare illness left him paralyzed for months in 1989, Sean came to appreciate the therapeutic power of cycling when it helped bring him back from the devastation of Guillain-Barre syndrome. Rawland (an English translation of his mother’s Norwegian surname) was born of Sean’s keen understanding of the simple, yet wondrously restorative magic of the bicycle. Anna, Sean’s significant other, not only trims the sail at Rawland, but also gets the credit for conceptualizing the Olaf rear dropout. Based in Northfield, Minnesota, Rawland Cycles is some 40 miles downriver from Minneapolis-St. Paul. Northfield was settled in the 1800s by Norwegian immigrants — Viking farmers, through and through — and it’s now home to Rawland Cycles, 18,000 people and two colleges: Carleton College and St. Olaf College.

Photos courtesy of Thomas Dunning

Sean Virnig

A force to be recokoned with



Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis.

Paul Rutowski


Photo courtesy of Katy Wilkinson

Calla Kevan

A deaf runner on the loose KF: What’s your favorite part about running? Enjoying my “me time” as we moms do not have enough of those! When I’m running outdoors on the trails, it’s nice to be alone with your own thoughts. KF: How long have you been running? I have been running competitively since I was 12 years old. That would be 19 years! KF: What’s the longest mileage you have run? Part of my marathon training requires me to run two 20 milers and one 23 miler. My longest run is 26.2 miles (marathon). My weekly mileage most of the time is around 60 miles a week. KF: How many marathons have you done? I have run two marathons. I will be running Boston in April. I have run more than 25 half marathons. KF: How do you find the time to run, with kids and a full-time job to juggle with? For me, running is a priority so I find a way to fit it into my schedule. I normally would run on the treadmill during the week when my kids are napping. During the weekends when my husband is home, I head out on the trails.




Connie Clanton is an deaf artist from New Hampshire. Be sure to click on the button on the right to view the interview in ASL.

Photo by Rosa Lee, taken with Jace Timm



Connie Clanton An Artist Extraordinaire


sean berdy “I like long walks on the beach...and then to be dragged through the sand by an off-road vehicle, and then hurled off by a catapult.� Sean Berdy is a young deaf performing artist on the rise. He is a film actor and a live performer. He is also best known for his work as an actor in a major feature film, The Sandlot 2, The Legend of the Mountain Man by ASLFILMS and Deaf Family by Mosdeux. Photo courtesy of Carmel Flores




Bonnie Russell


Brian M. Cole

“I see the world through the colors of my eyes” Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, graduated from Temple University, Philadelphia with a Bachelor’s in Film & Media Arts in 2005 after completing his internship at Warner Bros. Moved to Los Angeles in January of 2008 and has since performed for Deaf West Theater’s AESOP WHO? and written an adapted script based on Shel Silverstein’s poems and The Giving Tree for Deaf West’s Spring show THE STORY TREE. Produced 2 short films, and performed in several theatres. Currently writing, producing, and acting in another film short and working on developing his feature film this year to be filmed in Philadelphia. He can also be seen in the film Pie Head, which is currently in Film Festival Circuit.

KISSFIST TALENT Photo courtesy of Wayne Betts Jr.



Olga Rudyak is a fashion and portrait photographer working in Saint-Petersburg and Moscow. Being of a high intuition, Olga always follows the way of discovering the beauty and identity of her models. Also, she strives to reach the goals of fashion photography by representing image and shapes to perfection. Nowadays she is cooperating with leading model agencies in SaintPetersburg, advertising companies, fashion and interior designers, and music bands. She lectures, as well in the Saint-Petersburg Academy of Photography in several photographic courses. She believes the best thing we should be grateful for is our lives.

Reasonable Accommodations Words by Alison L. Aubrecht Yesterday I failed my science test. Again. I thought I understood all the information. The interpreter wasn’t certified but she could sign with passable skill and she was usually present in the classroom. But I must have missed something one of those days when she was absent or perhaps it was a sentence that was lost in translation. Or maybe I am just stupid. Mother did ask for a better interpreter. One who signs fluently and also for a program that provides interpreting services daily. But the school said no. I suspect mother worries that I am stupid, too. Look here, this scar? The one right above my eyebrow? I got that last year, at the hospital. You see, I have a temper. And when it got to be too much for mother and father, they had me admitted in a mental institution. I had an interpreter for the first meeting. But then, nobody came. I was left to wander alone, among moving lips and blurred routines.

My temper, always at a slow boil, quickly rose, blistering my face and steaming my hands into reaction. I must have done something wrong, must have broken a rule during my frantic attempts to communicate the confusion that I was feeling. A man in white grabbed my hands and thrust them under my sweaty armpits, a twisting white-knuckled grip. I couldn’t see him, only felt his male hardness behind me. When he pushed me onto the floor, my head crashed against the shiny linoleum. I know that the bloodstain isn’t there anymore but I can still see it. I didn’t need an interpreter, they said. Not until my next appointment with the doctor. The doctors told father that I needed to learn to control my temper, to be more patient. I watched his head bow in shame. His sturdy shoulders turned away from me, slightly, and it felt like a thousand winds battered my face. I have a baby girl now, did I tell you that? I took her to the doctor last week. She had a fever. Mother wanted to come with me, but I told her


By Megan Klusza

I could do it myself. The nurse wheeled in an interpreter-in-a-box. I told them I wanted a live person in the room. They told me that this was all they had to provide. My request, she scolded, was unreasonable. So instead of holding my weeping baby in my arms I laid her down on the table, fingertips resting against her vibrating belly, and leaned away awkwardly to sign to the flat screen. The nurse noted in my daughter’s chart: “The mother appears distracted. There seems to be a disturbance of attachment.” They didn’t call social services, this time. But they considered it.

Now I am in jail and I don’t know why. The policewoman who cuffed me was stiff and stoic. She wrote down a bunch of things about my having a right to be silent and told me to get an attorney. I don’t understand why she wants me to be silent and I don’t know what an attorney is. I have been in this room for hours. It is cold and it smells in here. I need to go to the bathroom but there is no privacy. There’s another woman in here with me. She keeps talking to me. I tried to tell her I can’t hear and she just laughed, laughed until tears streamed down her ruddy cheeks. She scares me. I think she is crazy. I do not

belong in here.

my mind with irrationality.

Now it is dark outside. And finally a cop comes. He signs a little bit. My brother is deaf, too, he tells me.

A heaving sigh later, my lawyer mutters, “We have got our work cut out for us.” I do not know what this means and I tell him so.

I can’t understand most of what he signs but my heart leaps in joy at the first sight of hands moving through the air, my eyes drinking in the slow, stuttering strobe-like flashes.

“Never you mind,” he says. “You were given reasonable accommodations,” he remarks, his eyes still avoiding mine as he aloofly pursues the neatly typed orderly pages of a thin file.

I ask for an interpreter. I will be working with you, he tells me, so there is no need for an interpreter.

Jaw locked, I shove down the tears that threaten. The anger, I let it come. But the hurt will crack my soul wide open. I can’t allow that.

I’ll be back, he says, before I remember to ask why I am stuck here, caged within steel bars. When at last a lawyer comes to meet with me, I explode. Interpreters!? Accessibility?! It’s all so unfair, I sign, hands shaking with the tremors of all of the electricity streaming through my blood. Adrenaline, I suppose. My lawyer sits calmly. His face is blank. I do not like him. He looks at my file, and then comments that the notes say that I had a signing cop working with me. I try to explain but my anger rises in battering waves. All of my stupid-ness and my out of control-ness takes over my being and floods

It’s all just so hopeless. This “reasonable” life in which I am expected to subsist.


Alisha McGraw






Steven Beyer

Ryan Ellis deaf visual artist

Photos by Ryan Ellis


When I was a young boy, I stood before the class with my art work. it was a boat sailing in the ocean. A classmate asked why I painted the ocean purple. I had thought it was blue all along.

Color blindness does not stop me from creating art. The challenges I face allow me to explore and work with colors in different ways

My greatest source of inspiration is definitely street art




Stay awhile...

Photo by Sue Baldi-Fields


ask shanada

S h a n a d a Schwartz is a deaf health consultant from Minnestoa

Q: A:

: :

What is a healthy snack or a breakfast/ lunch replacement to improve my eating habits?

Click HERE to view her answer

Global Deaf Women

Top 7 Reasons to Join GDW 1. Success Stories. Advices. Inspiration. 2. Women’s Network in Multi-Cities 3. Connect, Exchange and Grow 4. Fun & Professional Social Networking: Our Way, Our Moment, & Our Time 5. Promote Your Business, Personal Skills, & Expertises 6. Unforgettable Retreats 7. Unlimited Opportunities



DeafNation World Expo


Loving people and soaking up life is the only obvious reason we exist... Katie Winters


I do not need the elixir of youth. I wouldn’t mind wrinkles to tell you the truth. Strays of gray hair do not faze me. I’d embrace as many rainy days As long as you are here to stay. As I age, I turn the page on life. Oh, the triumphs and the strife, I will take them all in stride As long as I know you are by my side. Every one of you, my elders, my peers, and my youth, May you stay with me? At least for as long as you can, Mentally, physically and spiritually?


I still remember stories that my mommy told me When I curled in my bed as a child, Imagining all the adventures that have yet to come. Oh, the joys of adulthood! Now that I’ve grown, I’ve gone through some of my own. And they’re certainly as lovely as I imagined them to be, But some people got lost along the journey. So, may I capture this moment, and call it forever mine, And bottle it up for a rainy day or the one filled with sunshine. So, when I curl up in my bed, I’d just smile and fall asleep, Knowing that my loved ones Are always here with me for eternity.


r of Youth


Photo by Carmel Flores

But, as I see my little girl sleeping peacefully in her bed, I know she will be in her mommy’s shoes. Oh, the wonderful journeys she’ll take And the people she’ll lose along the way. Ah, the price of beautiful time, The bittersweet curse: It only goes forward and doesn’t come in reverse.


2011 calendar for sale at

Darcy T. DeLao

The man everyw

Photo courtesy of Amelia Zornoza


n whose feet dance where he goes As a professional deaf surfer from Huntingon Beach, Callifornia, Darcy T. DeLao has won every World Deaf Surf Shortboarding Championship since the first deaf contest in Baja, Mexico in 2001.

“Only a surfer knows the feeling”


Photo courtesy of Takeshi Matsumoto

y’s Words I’m a hardcore boardrider, board sport enthusiast and I love ripping the Surf City and riding dangerous waves. You can find me surfing in my local spot at Huntington Pier.



is a hard of hearing vegan, Board-Certified Music Therapist, 7-string guitarist, poet, hand-percussionist, composer, electronic music producer and on rare occasion, artist. As a kid and through University, he hated wearing hearing aids, and had denied his hearing loss. It wasn’t until recently that he took the plunge to get fitted with two BTE hearing aids, and has been slowly regaining confidence in himself through acceptance and peace, while learning how to navigate a musical world with a hearing loss and visual challenges.

Photo courtesy of Dara Feiler


aubade the work of whispers were your wings, as you slipped out the door into the sad, blue night, into the white noise of moonlight.

the sun was born to which i died, as long as shadows carry me, i will find you in all the midnight skies i see my cry is endless, past all the midnight skies i scream, but i will find you, ever-endless. at the end of days, who will remember who we were? in your eyes, the moon makes sorrow beautiful, though i’d slain a thousand stars, the thousandth ray spoke, “no one knows; you have but to close your eyes.” © 2003 j. krampert

Photo by Martha Guzman


My name is Martha Guzman. I am hearing. My son Jonathan Xavier Guzman is hard of hearing and my husband Elvis Guzman is also hearing. Our friends are deaf. We try very hard to learn about the deaf community since our son is hard of hearing.


MANNEKIN FIGURINES Onstage on shelves, our wooden limbs contort and twist for students and their sharpened lead ice-skating across the acid-free rink of white sloped down their laps as they redraw. We are mistakes erased as we reflect ourselves back in their Mylar mirror hands. We vogue and catwalk to songs we can’t hear. Our arms are outstretched wide against our will as if we’re embracing life in its thrall. They are terrible choreographers. We are ballerinas impaled on sticks. For God’s sake, please readjust our stiff joints. Posing for such amateurs is a bitch. Where’s Edgar Degas when we needed him?

SCANNER I don’t do well with smudgy fingerprints. Everything you give me is a matter of life or pixels: How cheap should I be when I look up-down with my DayGlo eyes each photograph and magazine picture? How much fidelity can you endure when I blink my eyes slowly to reveal my view of what you’ve always remembered there on your screen? I am a sheet of glass, peeling away your perceptions for mine. I rage against DPI in color. You deserve more beauty than I can give. One day your hard drive will fail. So will I. How strange you’d still entrust me with so much.


Bonnie Russell


Photo/Watercolor Mosaic Art


Judy Ann McClain Lowrie “I used my original photo, and watercolor painting, cut them into mosaic, switched the squares from two pictures into one picture. I want to make something creative from my experience working on photography, watercolor painting, quilt making and school yearbook layouts to become one design. “

What Did You Say? By Bobby Cox Photo courtesy of Chris Heuer

what did you say oh yeah okay head tilted to the side eyes smiling in the mouth oh wow your hair look yeah wait the table is wet what did you say oh yeah okay my turn to say something so i say it, and again why i meant ah yes that frozen eyebrows and lips what did you say oh yeah okay i want to say that you are pretty and fun and smart and witty and sing some song lyrics what did you say oh yeah okay did we talk about that let me write this down ah yeah let’s go now ill walk home alone


Kathie Russell


Because I say so


Christena Golembiewski Griffin

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. As a deaf cancer survivor for over two years, I am committed to educate, inspire, and empower women (and men) for fighting and preventing breast cancer. My greatest passion is art, music and dance. I see art as a form of expression about life. I love dancing of every kind. In my occupation I’m a dedicated educator teaching ASL to high school students and adults. I love teaching and I see it as an artistic form of expression as well. Photo by Alisha McGraw


Lucinda Baugh Deaf of Deaf, a Delaware native, graduated Gallaudet ‘98, Peace Corps Volunteer (Kenya 2002-04), currently a graduate student at Univ. of Calif-San Diego (UCSD).

Ronise Barreras

Photo courtesy of Sek Meng


A KF interview with Ronise Barreras who is a deaf american currently living in Cambodia

What brings you to Cambodia? Originally, I planned to backpack around Asia for 1 year to explore my inner soul and the world beyond me. Cambodia was the place I least wanted to visit. One day, I got an email from a friend about a job at the Deaf Development Program in Cambodia, but I wasn’t interested. I was sent a few more emails with the same information about the job. For days it heated my debate on whether to travel or to go for the job. Finally, I realized my dream: to live in a developing country and work with the local community for a period of time and never set limits on my potential. I would find out about the range of employment opportunities overseas. That! I went for the job and then I fell in love with Cambodia. A year later, when my contract ended with DDP, I moved 3 hours south to Kampot and volunteered with Epic Arts & Epic Arts Café. Epic Arts’s scope involves leading the Khmer deaf and disabled people of Cambodia. Today, I am the manager for the Epic Arts Café. They make the best coffee and baked goods! Also, I am developing and offering some job opportunities for the Khmers with Cambodia Deaf Tours. True organic life. Photo courtesy of Joanna Ball

How long have you been living there? Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Dec 2007 to Jan 2009 Kampot, Cambodia: Feb 2009 to Present



What is the deaf community like? Only a small percent of deaf people in Cambodia get any education. They are very fortune to have many NGOs offering education and learning opportunities. These NGO’s also support their human, social, and language rights. Cambodian Sign Language is only 12 years old and recently DDP developed their very own CSL books! Epic Arts is expanding deaf artistry. Khmer deaf people are only missing their “Deaf Identity”, however they share a living culture and a common cultural heritage. Everyday, I live and share my deafhood with their ways of life in culture, nature, and history. Their traditions thrive as part of a national identity and embody the spirit & soul of the deaf people of Cambodia. Photo courtesy of Sek Meng

courtesy of Dave Justice

Photo by Ronise Barreras


What is your favorite Cambodia saying? “Same same but different”


Photo by Ronise Ba


What is the next step for you?

Photo courtesy of Tashi Bradford


I sincerely hope that Cambodia Deaf Tours will be successful employing deaf tour guides and interpreters. The website is www. Also I wish to continue my relationship with the Epic Arts family. And maybe buy some land and develop a Deaf Camp in Kampot, Cambodia! The West Coast in America still sits in my heart, I hope to live in between here and there in the future.

Photo courtesy of Sek Meng

KISSFIST NEWS There will be no December issue due to late release of our September issue. Our 10th issue will be released in March 2011. Please do keep an eye out for special annoucements regarding our upcoming issue. THE KISSFIST TEAM


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Profile for The Gallimores

KISSFIST Magazine: Issue Nine  

A Word of Hand Magazine for the Signing Community

KISSFIST Magazine: Issue Nine  

A Word of Hand Magazine for the Signing Community

Profile for kissfist