I’ve been in a conference for the last two days. People have talked and talked and talked and talked. I’m starting to understand the culture more and some of the barriers that change faces. In the two days worth of meetings, nothing has been resolved, nothing has been decided and there has been no call to action. Maybe I’m supposed to become a better listener, it that is the case I’m certainly getting a lot of practice.
It is my first time with simultaneous interpretation and for the first couple of hours I thought I wasn’t going to understand anything. Every other word was actually. “Actually, you know, that actually, what we should actually do is actually focus on advocacy.” After a couple of hours our interpreter was warmed up and the translation improved. Thank goodness I was afraid it was going to be like the translators we had at the second Iraqi Alliance of Disability Organizations (“IADO”) in Kurdistan. The interpreters’ first language was Kurdish, second language Arabic and third language was English. It was a nightmare I barely understood anything. It was a glimpse into the isolation that the hearing impaired experience. Speaking of the hearing impaired there is a contingent of them at this conference, they are fun to talk to and almost more easy to communicate with using signs than with hearing Arabic speakers.
The sign for American is shooting guns with both hands, like a cowboy. Very appropriate considering the current administration. I was so tired yesterday, I went to the Hilton and got on the Internet, first I was having coffee with Ehsan with Mercy Corps Palestine and then he went to do some shopping for his family. After he left Khousoon sat down, she is the deaf woman who was interviewed in the “Making a Difference” segment on NBC news. She was waiting for her friend to go out. She told me that her friend was getting dressed and putting on make up. See I definitely understand more sign language than Arabic. Of course it would help if I started studying again, because even when I ask for coffee they look at me funny, which means my accent is off. The crazy thing about Arabic is not only is it tonal, it has masculine and feminine.
I decided to take a cab back to Happy City Hotel and eat there in the rooftop garden. It was a pleasant garden; it would have been even more pleasant if the waiter hadn’t taken an hour to get me something to drink. My food came before the tonic water I ordered and actually the tonic water didn’t come at all, so I asked for water. After dinner, I did a quick tour of the neighborhood for chocolate and then watched a movie in my room. I decided to forego an exploration that might hamper my ability to go to bed early.