Monday, May 28, 2012

Rosibel

We met Rosibel in San José Villanueva, during our February General Medical Mission.  She's a 32-year-old woman, a beautiful woman, who has been deaf and mute since the age of 18 months.  It's a sad story.  Rosi was running a high fever, and just at that time - during the Civil War - her father was brutally murdered.  Everyone in the family was so distraught and grieved that they couldn't give much attention to Rosi.  A little later, they realized that she was no longer hearing.

The family saw some evidence that she still had some hearing capacity - she noticed loud music, for example, so they brought her to our clinics to see what our doctors would think was possible.  I still don't know how she came to us in San José Villanueva, since she lives with her mother in San Martin, nearer to my home in Suchitoto, but I'm glad we connected with her.  A couple of weeks ago we went with Rosi to an ear, eye, nose and throat specialist, who sent us on for some specialized testing.  She does indeed have some auditory capacity, so there's a good possibility that with a specialized hearing aid she will be able to connect with the hearing world again.

Rosi has created a vocabulary of signs that she uses with her family, and recently some visitors from Jehovah's Witnesses have taught her the Salvadoran Sign Language alphabet, but she has never had any formal schooling in sign language or in Spanish.  If she is able to hear some speech with a hearing aid, she will need speech therapy to begin to understand what she's hearing, to understand the sounds and construction of spoken language and perhaps to learn to read a bit (and it's my hope that she'll also learn Salvadoran Sign and have opportunities to connect with other deaf Salvadorans).  It's a long road ahead for her, but she is a bright and capable woman.  Here she is, with her mother on the left and her sister-in-law on the right:

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