For Every Deaf Kenyan, A Better World
Written by Bug
Most travelers dream about seeing the lions and wild animals roam the beautiful African plains and visit the rainforests. But Deaf man named Lance McWilliams of Longmont, Colorado has different experience. He didn’t go there for the world’s largest combination of density and “range of freedom” of wild animals populations and diversity, with wild populations of large carnivorces such as lions, hyenas, and cheetachs and herbivores such as buffalos, elephants, and giraffes, etc. Lance went there to give his love to the People of Africa. He needed to see their nature as their identity, learn their language, values, discipline, pride, opportunity and detiny and helped him to understand them better with all his knowledge and feelings. Some Deaf Kenyans and Lance exchanged their Deaf Sign Language: Kenyan Sign Language and American Sign Language so they shared the language of love.
What did it make him interested in going there? He saw “The Color Purple” movie when he was a little boy. It touched his soul. He felt great about the story of human struggle and eventual triumph. “The Color Purple” was a novel written and released by Alice Walker in 1982. It was produced and directed for the big screen by Steven Spielberg and receieved 11 Academy Award nonminsations. After he watched the movie, he put Africa in his heart and hoped his dream would come true someday. ” After I learned that there were over 800,000 Deaf people, I wanted to GO,” he said. Lance felt the “Call” to go as he went to Nepal, Japan and Greece a few years ago but the “call” to go to Africa always resounded within his heart.
Last year Lance wanted to go to Kenya and hoped to join the church group but they said no because of insurance, he was told if anything happened to him, there would be no interpreters, etc. He accepted it with his sadness until a man from Africa named Shem came all the way to USA and met his church. Shem heard about Lance and personally invited him to come with and said they had an interpreter in Kenya waiting for him. He was going to work with a Deaf Pastor there so he became very happy and accepted quickly.
In July and August 2007, his dream came true. Lance was in Kenya for two weeks. He visited Nairobi, Kisil, Homabay, and Abero-the latter three are in the western parts of Kenya. He signs (speaks) from his heart and his eyes how the Deaf Africans live over there. He said the people in Kenya are friendly and wonderful. Most children saw him riding on a van down the tough road, they chased after him and yelled ” MUZUNGU!!”. It is a word meaning ” white person”. Many rural villages in Kenya are rarely visited by the white person, making Caucasian passers-through an odd sight for young people. The children loved watching Lance waving at them on a long, rutted dirt road.
Lance visited the small school in the jungle and it was closed because of summer vacation. Lot of Deaf orphans were left behind. The staff couldn’t take care of them. Hearing American Megg Rice who was also traveling with Lance as a teamwork partner and great Hearing friend. She learned a lot of American Sign Language from him while traveling together in Keyna. It was very emotional for them when they arrived and saw many orphans. They came to play with them and gave many stories in their American Sign Language. Deaf orphans smiled all the time. When Lance and his teams needed to leave, the children were puzzled and sad. They gave them the special hugs. That was a special time for the children that builded a bond of love and understanding that not many of them recieved one from the others.
An orphan is a child who has lost both parents, often through death or disappearance of the both parents. What would it take to make these children smile? They have no home, no loving parents and often times no food! Many of African orphans suffer from a mental or physical illness and are severely malnourished. These children who once were smiling healthy babies and looked at life with eyes full of wonder and anticipation have been subjected to suffering, severe disappointment and unimaginable hardships. Is it is possible for you to help Lance McWilliams to make his trip to Kenya? He wants going there and help soon.
The fact is that many hearing people in Kenya and other parts of Africa have a very low opinion of Deaf people. The entire system often sets up Deaf Children for failure. Most time the Deaf children are left with no education because of the cultural beliefs that Deaf child is a sign that God is angry with parents or a curse casted upon them by a witch. One day Lance went to the Deaf Community and spoke with many Deaf Keyans about his Deaf American culture. They were very suprirsed that most Deaf Americans have the suceesful self-advocate so we can express and speak for the rights. We need to do something about the Deaf Communities not just in Kenya but anywhere else such as Uganda, Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Tanzania, etc might need our help.
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is common in this poor third world continent. Lance wants to return to educate Deaf Keynans the danger of Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), personal cleaniness (they did not that washing your hands after going to the restroom which it can prevent you from getting sick). Also, he wants to teach them about the love of God. He wants to build the Deaf churches too.
I asked, “What did you like about Kenya?”. He said ” That the Deaf people there were so content with what they had and would give their shirt off their back for you.”
The good news for Lance McWilliams is that he will leave for Keyna on June 30th this year. Bad news is that he has not enough funds for his trip which it costs more than $6,500.00 Since most of the supplies such a papers, pens, toothbrushes, clothes are donated by many wonderful people.
How to help donate: You can donate to Lance McWilliams by June 24, 2008. Please write a memo saying that this is for Lance McWilliam’s mission trip to Kenya and this is tax deducible. If you wish to donate directly to Lance, you can contact him at email@example.com
Please send donations to
Calvary Bible Church
3245 Kalmia Ave
Boulder, Colorado 80301
To learn more about his last year trip and see his beautiful pictures at