There are 27 deaf students at the Mission; their ages range from 5 to 26 years old. Some of them entered the school with no language skills. Some had a slight ability to hear, but most were completely deaf. All of them possessed a joyful and cheery disposition.
Every day at lunch, the deaf children picked one of us as a partner. They ate meals with us, but hungered most for the attention we gave them. This week, I had 4 teenaged young men that latched on to me. As soon as they finished their classes, they made a beeline for the construction site. Though they could not speak, they would let out shrieks to get my attention. After a couple of days, I was able to identify the shrieks and match them to each individual.
Part of the education at the Mission is to teach the students a vocational skill. I was amazed at how hard these young guys worked, how they anticipated the next step in any project, and the pride they took in their craft. All the men who worked with them would have hired them in a skinny minute. Life at the Mission is focused on purpose. Everything the young people are taught has a life skill in mind; they are being prepared to experience their maximun ability to sustain themselves in their silent world.