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This day has been sponsored by : Ed Smith

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Week 12 Day 2 - "Sign Language and other classes"

CCS organized a variety of classes, presentations, and workshops for the volunteers.

We could learn things which would help us with our placements, such as Spanish or sign language (for those who worked with the handicapped at CAIPAD), or even local dances (for those who worked at the day care for the elderly).

Initially, I enthusiastically signed up for everything, wanting to learn as much as possible. After struggling through the first lesson of cumbia, I gave up dance immediately. When the usual Spanish teacher went on a long term vacation, Katia came in to replace her. Katia usually teaches English to school children, and was nervous about giving her first lessons in Spanish, especially with the various entry levels, ranging from not much more than 'hola' to little sentences to simple conversations. During my stay, I was probably the most advanced Spanish speaker amongst the volunteers and I would have liked to focus on the 'costa riqueñismos', i.e. the local brand of Spanish. Instead, Katia offered me to assist her in teaching the others. Eventually, I took up other (volunteering) responsibilities which frequently conflicted with the schedule for the Spanish class... so we gave up.

My absolute favourite class was sign language with Herald. After the first lesson I vowed to myself that I would not miss a single class. Herald was a great teacher with very expressive hands and facial expressions. I was gutted when dentist and other medical appointments kept conflicting with this (in my mind) most important class of the week. However, I went through the end whenever I could. I had always assumed that sign language was universal across continents and was surprised to learn that there were differences.

Presentations and workshops included topics such as local traditions, economics, politics, cooking, and music.


For today's sponsor

Ed... with the last "batch", some volunteers arrived who had previously taken ASL (American Sign Language) classes and they pointed out the similarities and differences to the local signs. Still, Naomi, who was "fluent" in ASL due to her brother, could easily communicate with Herald, i.e. overall sign language between two countries seem to be a lot more similar than the spoken language.