Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Deaf Club Bulgaria

Yesterday, Byeong-Hun (hereafter known as BH) and I went on a search for the Deaf association in Bulgaria. Well, by search I mean we looked up their address on their website. 12-14 Denkooglu street. Ah, the information age.
Anyways, we got there around 1 pm, and had a hard time finding the right room. We were definitely in the right building; the word глух (deaf) was everywhere, but we couldn't find any Deaf people or offices with Deaf workers. We went into a couple of rooms, and were lead to a group for parents of the hard-of-hearing. Not exactly useful for us. Finally, someone saw that we were confused, and sent us to meet with the president of the Union of the Deaf Bulgaria. After we sat down, he began talking about the organization, and how it has been around for some 80 years. He was using International Sign, and he must have noticed my confusion, because he called in an interpreter that spoke English. BH, who knows ISL, was also a little confused, so at times, he would be speaking in Bulgarian Sign Language, the interpreter would translate to English and then I would translate to ASL for BH. Sometimes, the interpreter didn't know a word in English, and then BH would translate from ISL to ASL. Confusing.
BH told the president that he is looking for volunteer jobs in Sofia, but the president wasn't very helpful. Our friend told us that this might be the case. He was friendly, but very old, and kept going on and on about how many years the Union of the Deaf Bulgaria has been around.
At around 1:30, we headed down to the cafe for some coffee. The president of the Deaf Soccer League showed up, and he and BH were chatting away. The interpreter continued to translate to English, which was very helpful, and she also taught me some Bulgarian Sign Language. I think this also may be helpful for studying Bulgarian.
The Union of the Deaf's library opened at 2, so we headed up to check it out. The librarian was profoundly Deaf, yet could speak. I couldn't understand her Bulgarian very well, but the interpreter translated and then I translated into ASL for BH. There were all sorts of historical memorabilia for the Deaf Club as well as its participation in various international organizations. The tour ended with free copies of various magazines and newspapers as well as books on Bulgarian sign language. If I can't figure out my project here, at least I have something to do on the side!

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