Langness House Update
With the Beast from the East blowing a hoolie across our island, it certainly blew in some new ideas!
As a whole-school campaign, each house at Ballakermeen High School has sponsored a child from an impoverished area from around the world. Langness House will follow a girl from Ghana, a nation on West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea. We will receive regular updates in how she is doing and where our support fits in.
Although Ghana is known for its diverse wildlife, old forts and secluded beaches, colonial buildings and castles-turned-museums, its people rely on the land and farm their own food, which means when there are droughts or floods they suffer severe food shortages.
Many children in Ghana don’t get a good education, do no finish secondary or even primary school. Schools are often overcrowded, they don’t have water or toilets, and trained teachers and school books are in short supply.
Watch this space for further information!
Closer to home, Langness House has now counted up all the monies for the Manx Deaf Institute and the total is most impressive! The Sponsored Silence and Wear Ear Defenders Day, was organised to raise awareness of hearing loss. Students either donned ear defenders or stayed silent throughout the day to raise money. A massive £488 was raised by participants in the charity drive and Mrs Burnett topped off our total to a HUGE £1,000! She was moved by the heartfelt statements written by several students who participated in the ‘Ear defenders’ part of the charity drive.
Mataline 8LS1 said, “Wearing ear defenders was a very odd experience. First off, you couldn’t really properly hear anyone unless you were concentrating on the sound they were making. But this was also difficult if the room was too loud and you couldn’t pick out the sounds and sometimes I would think people were talking to me but then eventually found out that no one was! Overall, this was a very enlightening experience and it made me aware of how being partially or fully deaf can affect a person and how much sound we actually make!”
Keira 8LS1 said, “Being deaf definitely changed the way I look at the world. Being deaf made me think about how much I take hearing for granted, like it’s something which I should not pay much attention to. It is really hard to explain what it sounded like; I could hear, but it was only when I was either facing the actual person or there was only one person talking at one time. If I had the opportunity to do this again, I definitely would. It was a fun experience.”
Vinn 7LL7 said, “It was fun, but you could still hear quite a lot. My favourite bit was the peace and quiet and my least favourite bit was ‘can you hear me?’, ‘Why are you wearing those headphones?’ ‘Ha! I got you to talk!’ It was weird trying to converse with anyone, at lunch it was really annoying because whenever I ate a bite of my food my jaw started to hurt and I had to take them off to eat, so that sucked. Overall, I thought that was an awesome challenge and I enjoyed it very much. Thank you for letting me participate!”
Amy 7LS3 said, “When I was wearing the ear defenders I felt normal but then it didn’t at the same time! It felt very echoy and I couldn’t hear how loud I was speaking, so sometimes I was speaking very quietly without knowing it. I liked the experience but I wouldn’t do it again because I had to keep asking people to repeat what they were saying and it felt annoying, for me and them!”
Zharah 7LS3 said, “As the day progressed I kinda felt like I got somewhat used to it. At the end of the day, taking the ear defenders off was so strange. I could hear so clearly! Every class got a bit easier to work in and they kept my ear warm! But the one thing that was hard was not being able to hear the whispers and some of the people who were talking to me.”
Torryn 7LD2 said, “When I was wearing the ear defenders for the school day, I found it harder to communicate with other people. It was harder to communicate because you didn’t know what they were saying and you didn’t know how loud you were talking! Also, it was a bit frustrating because you could hear a little, but not everything!
Alyssa 10, who has been deaf since she was born, took out her cochlea implant for the day. Her experience is both heart-warming and honest. She said, “It’s harder than it looks and seems. I’ve been deaf my whole life but it’s still hard. I had a couple of people come up to me and say that it wouldn’t be a challenge for me but that’s a lie. It is more challenging than anyone will know. You feel alone even if you are in a room full of people. You look around thinking what should I do? I tried to talk sometimes and people would tell me to speak louder because I wasn’t loud enough or to be quieter because I was too loud. There was never a moment where I could talk normally and the other person wouldn’t say anything about the volume of my speech.
Being deaf isn’t just about not being able to hear, it the speech problems and the mind games. It’s the doubting yourself and saying you can’t do something when you really can.
I found it quite interesting to see how others would try interact with me. Some would make hand gestures, whereas others would talk normally knowing that I could lip read.
If anyone thought being deaf for a day was easy, think about what it would be like for a whole life in silence. Silence isn’t even a word for being deaf, in silence you can hear the wind blowing ever so slightly or the trees moving. When you’re deaf there is no sound, there is no noise except your thinking. Sometimes I thought I could hear myself but it was just the vibrations of my voice.
So altogether being deaf is definitely a challenge and it would be interesting to see what others thought about it. I don’t remember my mum’s voice properly, I only hear what I get through my hearing aids. I will never hear the voice of my own child properly so it is definitely hard and lonely.”
Lucy, founder of the Manx Deaf Institute, received the cheque at our last assembly. Beaming she outlined what the charity will do with the money, for example, social events outside the Somerset Road base, including an outing to the beautiful Milntown Gardens. Lucy, like Alyssa mentioned, said how people overreact and don’t really know how to deal with a person who is deaf. The bigger the exposure the Manx Deaf Institute can get and make people aware in how to speak and communicate.