"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Love is the ability...

Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care about to be what they choose for themseselves without any insistence  that they satisfy you.
- Wayne Dryer

Monday, November 9, 2015

How is it to be Born Deaf in Cameroon?

This guest post is written by Marc Serna from Reach Out Cameroon. Marc shares the story of a beautiful young deaf girl, Thelma, who needs help reaching her full potential. Learn how you can help.

Thelma and her mother

How is it to be born deaf in Cameroon? 
Buea School for the Deaf
Thelma is a 6 years old girl living in Tole, a village in the South-West Region of Cameroon. Like many other children there, she is daughter of a single mother and an absent father, and from a very tender age she knows what hunger and poverty mean. Unlike the children around her, she happens to be deaf and that could condemn her to a life of isolation and dependency. The Cameroonian Government does not support deaf children in any way, there is no government school for the Deaf, and there is no subsidy to have access to the scarce private institutions. It is still common to hear expressions like the “deaf and dumb” in Cameroon, as most citizens do not have knowledge on the deaf and hard of hearing realities and believe they are born stupid. So many deaf children actually grow up to be underdeveloped adults after not attending formal education and not learning sign language or how to read and write. 
I discovered her one afternoon, as I was interviewing her mother who benefits of the Keep a Girl Alive Program (Our NGO, Reach Out Cameroon, uses cash transfers and trainings to empower young vulnerable women). After one hour interview on her progress and her business I just added casually if there was someone else she would like to tell me. “See, my child is deaf and she is not going to school, I don’t know what to do”. After that I always add that question at the end of any interview. 
Without Government support, NGO’s and private institutions take up alone the task to take care of the Deaf. IBuea (Capital of the South-West Region) Buea School for the Deaf is a deaf-led boarding school that does an excellent job. But government also fails to support them with proper financial assistance and they see themselves pushed to plead for international help and raise the school fees to more than 5 times the fee any other school or high school would ask for (More than 10 times what the cheaper institutions costs).   
Given this government vacuum there is also absolute lack of coordination between teaching institutions, as they are mostly small charitable institutions with very limited resources and left to take care of whole regions with populations over the million. Schools in the North-West are teaching American Sign Language, in the South-West Cameroonian Sign Language is taught. These are the two Anglophone regions. In the West Region, francophone, French sign language is taught. (These are examples I can talk about, there might be more in different regions). This condemns successful students to a very small personal network of former students of the same institutions so that even among other educated deaf you are not always able to communicate. This to not mention the majority of rural populations in Cameroon won’t even have physical access to these institutions; there deaf children limit themselves to the rudimentary communication methods they use with their parents and they live all their life under that constraint, growing to be underdeveloped adults in most cases. 
We were worried when we learned about Thelma, she was on the risk of going towards that path. Thelma’s mother, Stephanie, is one of those amazing women who are transforming their lives slowly and steadily. But she is still far from being able to pay for the school fees in Buea School of the Deaf, she might be in a few years, but she is clearly not there yet. She was not receiving either any orientation or support on how to adequately address her child needs. Reach Out Cameroon is an NGO that cares about all vulnerable groups and about enforcing human rights, we had a mandate to do something about her. But we did not have any funding addressing such issues, and we barely have any running budget to cover emergencies. Luckily we are partners of globalgiving.org and we could start a crowdfunding campaign to obtain the necessary money for one year of schooling. 
We were incredibly lucky, a few benefactors quickly came to her assistance and every one (her mother, her school and ourselves) could finally be certain that she could make it for at least one year. Her evolution was impressive, she is still picking up with so many things but there is no doubt she is an amazing child. She managed to teach her mother sign language during the holiday period and in this video you can see how she communicates with her. Thelma tries to write the ABC, and when she hesitates she looks at her mother, who will make the sign for the necessary letter. No one but Thelma, 6 years old, taught Stephanie those and many other basic signs. 
So now we are facing another year and funding has not yet come to her assistance. The School for the Deaf has accepted her, as they are a trusted partner of us, but this is just temporary, if funding does not come through her situation will have to be revised. 
This is the kind of absolute abandon to chance you are subject to when you are deaf and poor in Cameroon. If funding come through she will be allowed to remain in school, her progress will continue and she will be on track to realizing all her potential, and fully communicate with her mother and the world around hershe will have an education and a real opportunity to make it in life. If there is no funding then she will go back to her mother and just wait for years till maybe in the future she is able to raise the sum required for her to resume her education. There are many children in Cameroon facing this situation, we have identified the problems and we want to start addressing the issue of lack of coordination between institutions, lack of government implication and overall lack of access to deaf education among the rural and the extreme poor Cameroonians. Hopefully our efforts will be fruitful, but right now we are certain that you can help this one. (Consider a small donation and share this story among your friends and family) 
If you want to support Thelma’s education follow this link: 
Thank you. 

Marc Serna works in Reach Out Cameroon, a Cameroonian NGO based in Buea that works for the rights and development of the most vulnerable groups all over the South-West Region of Cameroon. 
E-mail: marc@reachoutcameroon.org 

Thelma's page: https://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/send-thelma-to-school/

Additional Links 
Buea School for the Deaf:  http://www.bueaschdeaf.org/ 

Friday, September 25, 2015

National Daughter's Day 9/25/2015

Happy National Daughter's Day!  I love the child you were, and the woman you have become, Mary!

Mary is beautiful..... Inside as well as out. Mary loves deeply in ways some people would never understand, and in ways I highly admire.  Hoping she someday writes and shares her story. She has gone through difficult things in her young life, and despite what she has been through, she graciously forgives and loves through all of it without becoming bitter, hateful or vengeful. She has amazing people skills and problem solving skills and truly wants the best for everyone. I not only love her, I highly admire her.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Oticon's "Focus on People" Candidates for 2015

Here are the nominees for the National "Focus On People" 2015-2016. Read each story and cast your vote for one person in each category. 
As last year's winner for Advocacy, I can say  Oticon is a company that truly does put "People First".

Friday, September 4, 2015

Selling Our Cottage on the Coast

We put my mother's corner lot cottage on the Southern Oregon Coast up for sale. It's a charming old home and right by the park a few blocks from the library and downtown. If you know anyone looking to buy an inexpensive home and likes to fix things up, this would be perfect!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

How Far You Go in Life Depends On...

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, 
compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant
 of the weak and strong.  Because some day in life you will have been 
all of these.
- George Washington Carver

Friday, August 21, 2015

Bad Lipreading "Republican Debate"

The young men who created the "Bad Lipreading" series do a fabulously hysterical job! I often misread what is on the lips, but grateful I don't misread this badly.  If you need captions, be sure they are turned on.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Reiki - An Interview with Rickie Meryl Freedman

My friend and mentor Rickie, aka "Reiki by Rickie"  was recently interviewed by Amy of ABC Channel 27 News program Good Day PA. Below is the transcript Teresa Russ, professional captionist provided for me. There will be captions available for the video soon, as well.

Good Day PA video link is below the transcript:

ABC Channel 27 News
An Interview with Rickie Freedman
Reiki By Rickie

GOOD DAY PA: When it comes to healing techniques like Reiki, I think some people are skeptical of whether or not the practice actually works, but for some, it has a profound effect on their health and well being. Rickie Freedman is the owner of Reiki by Rickie, and she is here to get us on board with it.
Honestly, before I met you and experienced it, I wasn't really sure what Reiki was; so I'm sure there's lots of folks that feel that way; so what is it, Rickie?

RICKIE FREEDMAN: True. A lot of people are skeptical the first time that they try it, and it's very much an experience once you feel it, then you understand it, but Reiki is a very gentle and very deeply relaxing hands on healing. It was originally from Japan, primarily, for stress management, and we know that stress on your lives probably 90 some percent of doctor's visits.
Helping people relax is a very deeply healing experience itself; so Reiki helps to balance your energy, and then you feel more peaceful and able to handle all the stresses around you and in a much more calm way.

GOOD DAY PA: I mean, what is a session like? What happens during a session?

RICKIE FREEDMAN: Yeah, so Reiki is a very comfortable session.
You get to be fully clothed. You're on a massage table, and there's absolutely nothing that you need to do or think about or try. You get to just relax and allow and be. It consists of a gentle-like touch and also some balancing in your energy. Reiki is an energy balancing. A lot of people can feel that even though I'm not physically touching them. GOOD DAY PA: Yes, you had described that to me.

RICKIE FREEDMAN: So people describe feelings of warmth, tingling, sometimes vibration. Many people fall asleep or go to a very deep meditative state where your mind is finally quieted and that is a very healing place to be.

GOOD DAY PA: Well, Rickie was so nice. She actually let me come experience it before your appearance here on the show. I found it very relaxing, and I told you that, when you were doing this with me, I did feel like my face felt warm at some point, you know, and now I was under a nice cozy blanket, which was lovely, but I did feel that warmth.
It just felt so relaxing like I could have just zoned out from everyday life for a little bit. Do other folks share the similar experience?

RICKIE FREEDMAN: Absolutely, yes, and that deep sense of peace and calm and relaxation is a very common after effective Reiki, and when you go back out into the world with that more peaceful centered place, you're able to handle all the stresses around you much easier, and so Reiki can be experienced by everyone.
Everyone can tolerate because how gentle it is; so from the tiniest little newborn infants to women who are pregnant to even people on a hospice program because of how gentle it is. It can help bring a more peaceful acceptance, also can help with pain or side effects of medication.

GOOD DAY PA: Well, I want to get to the special event that is coming up. This is really neat. I mean, who doesn't love a fun time at sea so tell me about this.

RICKIE FREEDMAN: This is a really unusual opportunity. Next
January, January 16th of 2016, I'm co-producing the Healing
Water Holistic Cruise with Scott Travel in the Canonsburg; so in addition to all the regular cruise and fun and activities, you'll get to experience the work of six healers and practitioners as they share sessions and workshops onboard --

GOOD DAY PA: Now, another thing our audience -- excuse me -- might be interested in is a special offer you have just for the Day PA viewers today. 

RICKIE FREEDMAN: That’s right. Anyone who contacts me by the end of this month we can get you scheduled for your first session in ReikiSpace & Learning Place, and you'll receive a ten-dollar discount.

GOOD DAY PA: Woohoo! Ten-dollar discount. Love when folks bring offers for our viewers.
It was lovely having you on the show today. You're going to come back with us to share more about this in the coming weeks.

RICKIE FREEDMAN: Looking forward to it.

GOOD DAY PA: Okay. Ricky, good to see you. We'll see you again soon.
[End of Transcript]

Transcribed by:
Teresa Russ, CSR, CRI
Certified Court Reporter
CART/Provider Captioner
(For the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing)

Click here to see the video (captions coming soon): http://abc27.com/2015/07/16/reiki-by-rickie/

If you need videos transcribed or captioned, I highly recommend you contact Teresa Russ. She is fabulous!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I've Opened my Reiki Practice

I'm so excited to share with you that I've set up my Reiki Practice here in Bandon at The Synergy Center. This article is a little outdated, but it tells you a little more about what Synergy Center is all about. It is a priviledge to be working with Jackie Day and the other professionals that have made Synergy Center what it is.

Currently, I facilitate 2 Reiki Shares a month. Anyone who has had at least level 1 Reiki training is invited to join us. We meet together and exchange Reiki as a group.

In addition to the shares, I am now offering private Reiki sessions to clients, and soon offering classes of each level.

Come take a peek at our Facebook page, and support it by giving it a "like" while you're there. I would really appreciate that.


You'll find my email address on the Facebook page if you want to know more about Reiki.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Beautiful Scientific Aspect of Reiki

The word is spreading I can tell pregnant women the sex of their baby BEFORE their ultrasound reveals the gender. Two women asked me yesterday what they were having. So far, the accuracy percentage is 100%.

My trick? No trick.. It's Science! Male and female genders are created magnetically/energetically differently. 

I learned this during my Reiki practice at the end of a session when I was making sure all the client's energy centers (chakras) were unblocked with a final scan. Her Sacral Chakra responded differently, and I realized she was expecting... And she was going to have a girl. After her session, I asked if she wanted to know the sex of her baby. She said, "Yes", and I told her she was expecting a girl. And she did have a girl! 

Since then, I share this in my Reiki classes and with others learning about energy work.

If you're interested in taking a Reiki class with me, or scheduling a private Reiki session for yourself, contact me at xpressivehandz@hotmail.com

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day, My Fabulous Husband

Happy Father's Day, Fabulous Husband, Gary. I honor you as the Father to my children and Grandfather to my grandchildren. You are a precious gift and God's blessing to us. I honor you and all that you are and all that you mean to us with love, admiration and appreciation. You are deeply loved.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

ASL Classes and Bible Studies, Harrisburg, PA area

Here is the latest information for happenings with DeafKonnect in the Harrisburg, PA area:

DeafKonnect – a Ministry by and for members of the Deaf Community in the greater Harrisburg area.

Pray, Preach, Teach, Reach
PRAY: Prayer takes place throughout the ministry’s activities: before and after classes and events.
  • Rev. Martin Lewis (Deaf) leads Bible Class on Sunday mornings at 9:30 on the gym stage.
  • WSEFC’s Worship Service (10:45am) is interpreted weekly by certified &/or qualified interpreters.
  • Bible study is conducted on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of each month at 6:30pm, where each attendee is encouraged to bring a Bible verse to share.
  • ASL classes are taught in the spring and fall.
  • The church’s annual Vacation Bible School is fully accessible via signers and interpreters throughout the program.
  • DeafKonnect sponsors several outreach activities throughout the year, such as a summer picnic, and ice cream socials.  
Calendar of Events:
  • July 11, 1-8pm, Deaf Picnic at the pavilion
  • Fall 2015 Beginner Sign Language class – dates, times, locations, etc. TBA
  • Fall 2015 Harley Davidson York interpreted tour – date & time TBA

Friday, May 29, 2015

2015 Oticon "Focus on People Awards" Now Accepting Nominations


2015 Oticon Focus on People Awards Seek Outstanding People with Hearing Loss 
For National Recognition and Prizes 

SOMERSET, NJ   May 28 -- Oticon, Inc. is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Oticon Focus on People Awards. The national awards program, now in its 17th year, celebrates the accomplishments of people with hearing loss who demonstrate that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to achieve, contribute and excel.  

People with any degree of hearing loss – from mild to more severe -- are eligible. Winners in four categories earn cash prizes, donations to their favorite charities and Oticon hearing solutions with BrainHearing™ technology. 

The four categories include: Student, for full-time students, ages 6 - 25 with hearing lossAdult, for people age 21 and above with hearing loss; Advocacy, for volunteers ages 21 and above with hearing loss who support the hard-of-hearing and deaf community; and Practitioner, for hearing care professionals in general practice, school and clinical settings who go “above and beyond.”  Nominees in the Practitioner category are not required to have a hearing loss to qualify. 

First place winners in the Student, Adult and Advocacy categories receive a $1,000 prize, a $1,000 gift to the charity of their choice and a set of Oticon BrainHearing™ technology hearing solutions.  Second place winners in each category receive a $500 award and third-place winners receive $250.   

Anyone may nominate using a simple online form available at www.oticonusa.com/FOP.  Deadline for nominations is July 15, 2015.

You can read my experience as a 2014 winner here: