How do you sign your name?

For many Fijian kids who go to school away from home, holiday time means going back to the village to re-unite with much-missed friends and family and catch up on all the news and gossip from the school term.

For one seven-year old boy from Nubutautau however, it also means entering a period where he will struggle to communicate. He is deaf, and during term time he attends the Gospel School for the Deaf in Suva where he learns all his lessons in sign language and is a very bright and promising student.

Talanoa Treks, and the community of Nubutautau, is grateful to two highly skilled teachers and communicators from his school who kindly volunteered their time to teach them some sign language. Fortunately the teachers, Miss Felicity Ali and Mr Tomasi Bou, also have a strong spirit of adventure since it involved venturing deep into the heart of Fiji on some pretty bumpy roads.

Over two days in the week before Christmas, adults and children in Nubutautau learned how to sign the alphabet and other basic signs, including each being given a unique ‘sign nickname’. The lively and entertaining sessions were taught by Mr Tomasi, who is himself deaf, and interpreted by Miss Felicity.

They also explained about the deaf community and deaf culture and how important it is to support people who are deaf to reach their full potential. It was an enlightening couple of days for everybody including us, and as one person from the community aptly put it: ‘There is so much to learn in this world!’.

Nubutautau community guide and host Talanoa Treks guests on both the Cross Highland Hike and the Full Monty.