Born deaf in a remote Ugandan village, 15-year-old Patrick Oteman had never had any exposure to sign language. His mode of communication consisted of rudimentary hand gestures exchanged with his father. Locked in his world of silence, Patrick was a forlorn soul who kept to himself and worked on the family’s farm.
Enter Raymond Okkelo, a sign language teacher who had undergone training in the capital and had now returned to his sub-Saharan village to help youngsters such as Patrick. As Okkelo started teaching the basics of sign language to his class of students, it was like he turned the key to Patrick’s locked-up thoughts. A smile appeared on Patrick’s face, as for the first time in 15 years he could exchange thoughts with others. Fast-forward 10 weeks and Patrick’s transformation is as striking as it is heartwarming.
What we take for granted in our lives are still unfulfilled privileges in remote African villages.