Day Three : Riberalta

October 31, 2007

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I woke up for my second day in sunny Riberalta and braved a motorbike taxi ride back to the ARCA Maranatha Deaf School where I met with Ricky – one of their teachers.

Ricky was the first person to go through ARCA and to go right through High School with the help of a translator. He now teaches at the school and his enthusiasm has helped Andreas Kolb recruit many new members of staff and provide out-reach into the surrounding community.

With Carol translating Ricky’s sign language, she helped me understand just how hard the staff at ARCA have worked to maintain the school and to help its pupils.

Sarah, Andreas’ wife, is one of the deaf teachers at ARCA. She was teaching a Bible Studies class with the aid of a sign language dictionary containing the words in the Bible that aren’t part of everyday sign language. It was illustrated throughout with photographs of each of the hand signs to help the children learn the unusual words. The dictionary had been made and printed locally in Bolivia with the help of Andreas, Sarah, and a few other members of the deaf community.

CBM has been able, though the donations it has received, to build a number of new buildings for ARCA and these are now used as classrooms. It was great to see that they are now all fully attended and that the children of the school are so well behaved.

ARCA impressed me so much but with a sad ‘goodbye’, I had to leave to catch my flight on to my next location in Santa Cruz.

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This post was written by Clare Rice

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