Although Americans tourists are banned from entering the country, I went under the journalism category.
It's only an hour flight, Cuban visa can be bought during check-in at the airline counter before departure, just don't forget your passport. I exchanged dollars into their convertible  (CUC) pesos upon arrival. I stayed at an hostel next to the baseball stadium. I focused on videotaping their culture alone rather than being somewhat biased traveling group with their hectic schedule. One day took a Soviet era Lada taxi to outskirts of Havana to visit a Deaf school. They asked me what we Deaf Americans do with our obsolete TTY as we are using VP nowadays, hopefully some organizations will donate those equipment. I felt like was blasted into the past, surrounded by all those vintage automobiles.


Underground Railroad

Lunch Period (Illinois School for the Deaf)
Ed: "Hey, Walter, what you doing this weekend?"
Walter: "I am going hunting with my uncle."
Ed: "You always do many things with your Uncle, seem like you never at home."
Walter: "My mother couldn't communicate with me, my younger brothers and sister doesn't like to interpret for me, my Uncle is the only Deaf in my family, he is my role model."
Ed: "What happened to your father?"
Walter: "My father was shot down over Yugoslavia, they never found his body, I never met my father, it was a one night stand."
Linda: "Have you decided on the topic of your book report?"
Walter: "It's black history month, so my topic will be about Major Merryl David, first black woman to fly the U-2 spy plane during the cold war. Found out she is a Trekkie like me."
Linda: "Sorry, I misunderstood, thought you're writing about Bono and the U2 band, he'll be a good topic anyway, as he's a humanitarian and have donated money to good causes, including us Deaf." (light flashes)
Walter: "I gotten go to PE now, hope you guys sign up for the track team."
Chicago Cabrini Green
Wayne: "Mom, you got a package in the mail."
Mary: "I wasn't expecting anything."
Wendy: "It's from AgBAD." (curious, Mary watches a video that came with the package)
Mary: "Wayne, Wendy, I have good news, I am getting Walter a CI, he will be hearing like us, he can go to school with you this fall, so we'll be a family again."
Wayne: "You know Walter will never accept that, his friends are at ISD, and ASL is his native language, he'll never be socially accepted by his peers at our school, and they won't let him play contact sports, as he'll be a liability risk due to having CI, so forget about it."
Wendy: "Wayne is right, Walter have no residential hearing, so he'll never learn to speak, just like you, you never learn sign language, that's why he spend all his time with our Deaf uncle."
Mary: "Don't talk to me that way, I am going to call Comer Children Hospital and schedule an appointment." (dialing)
Chicago Union Station
Walter: "Uncle Rudy, thank you for picking me up, I'm looking forward to hunting this weekend."
Rudy: "Got ourselves a cabin, let's stop at Gold Coast Dogs, and have a snack, so how was your week at school?"
Walter: "Our wrestling team doing well, maybe one of us will win the state championship this year, just signed up for the track team."
Rudy: "I have been selling Hershey bars at my workplace, hoping to raise enough money so you can go to Japan with your classmates."
Walter: "I'm looking forward to it, just need another thousand, have many penpals at the Miyagi School for the Deaf in Sendai, Japan."
Rudy: "Your mother mentioned that your father was once stationed in Japan, but I am suspicious of everything she told us, since I never met him, so we assume that he's dead."
Wisconsin Northwoods
Walter: "I'm glad I completed my Hunter's Safety Certificate to be able to go with you, regardless I enjoyed all the fishing outings we had, I think it's great to sleep in a log cabin, instead of pitching a tent, the fireplace will protect us from the harsh winter elements, hope to score my first whitetail trophy."
Rudy: "You will, there are plenty of them in the northwoods, when I pick up your backpack and sleeping bag, your mom seem exciting and can't wait to tell you the good news."
Walter: "I wonder what's she is up to now?"
Rudy: "Get your fishing gears. We're going fishing now, we'll have a fish fry tonight!"
Walter: "Love 'em Muskies" (both took an ATV downriver)
Chicago Cabrini Green
Mary: "Hello!" (phone conversation, children listen in)
Dr. Rake: "This is Dr. Rake at the Comer Children Hospital, your Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance approved your request for a CI, I've scheduled a procedure for this Wednesday, we usually CI newborns but my concern is how does Walter feel about it, we have social workers and psychiatrists on our staff that can interview your child, and determines if it's in his best interests."
Mary: "My son, Walter, always wanted to communicate with me and looking forward to being normal." (hangs up the phone after conversation)
Wendy: "Why did you lied to the doctor, you haven't even spoken with Walter yet."
Wisconsin Northwoods
Rudy: "I am proud of you, you bag your first whitetail, a nine point trophy, not bad on your first time hunting, let's go back to the cabin before it get dark."
Walter: "We'll have a great campfire tonight, I love your Deaf folklore's."
Rudy: "We'll have Chicago style Chili tonight!" (Walter collects the firewood, Rudy prepares the chili with his famous secret ingredients)
Walter: "Are you coming to our wrestling match next week?"
Rudy: "I'll be there."
Walter: "I only wish my Mom would be there, too." (bonfire, full moon)
Rudy: "Let's have an initiation ceremony to induct you to a Deaf tribal hunting clan, using their ancient ritual practices. The elements are ten-fold, one being Deaf, having its first game trophy, a bonfire during a full moon, shall we start?"
Rudy: "Remember when you were awoken this morning by the bears, you noticed that they were hungry searching for food, using their sense of smell, that was the first object you saw, from now on, you will be known as Sniffin' Bear.
Walter: "Just like the Indians, they got their names from the first sight at birth, what about you?"
Rudy: "I'm Smokey 'cause I snore like a bear, I am giving you this armband as a symbol of being the best hunter, you can lose it only if any other Deaf bag a bigger whitetail trophy with more than nine points."
Walter: "You ought to start a youth Deaf group, more adventurous than our boy scout troop."
Rudy: "Why not, if we have enough Deaf youth interested, and a sponsor, get them away from the rat race of the urban jungle, here's a special gift, a Bowie knife, that Deaf Smith once used during the Alamo siege."
Walter: "Thanks, Rudy, it's a great tradition to pass on."
Rudy: "Here is the chalice (a cup Chicago chili), it symbolized the blood of the whitetail you sacrificed to our Deaf gods, washes away the sins, and strengthened you, the only thing left to do is for you to do a traditional Deaf tribal dance around the bonfire, and then finally, a tribal mask of Sniffin' Bear will be given to you to remember this occasion."
Walter: "Thanks, Rudy, I will never forget our bonding."
Cabrini Green
Mary: "Did you have a great time this weekend camping with your Uncle?"
Walter: "Yes, Mom, I bag my first whitetail, from now on you can call me Sniffin' Bear, my new nickname."
Rudy: "I gotten go now, thanks for the coffee, see you at the wrestling match."
Mary: "You have an appointment with Dr. Rake this Wednesday, so you'll not be returning to school, I already notified ISD that you'll be absent."
Walter: "Mom, no, I got a wrestling match this week, who's Dr. Rake, he's not my doctor, we always scheduled an annual physicals during the summer."
Mary: "This doctor can change your life..." (Walter angered shut himself out in his bedroom, nailed the tribal mask to the wall)
Comer Children Hospital
Dr. Rake: "Hello Walter, I am Dr. Rake, Ricky here is the hospital staff interpreter, do you know why you are here?"
Walter: "No, my mom didn't say anything about it except whatever it is will change my life."
Dr. Rake: "That's right, you are here for a CI procedure, you will stay overnight, in the morning, we'll take you to the..."
Walter: "I don't want a CI, period. ASL is my birthright,..."
Dr. Drake: "Unfortunately, you're only 12 years old, a minor, your Mom have a right to make those kinds of decisions, no matter what you think."
Walter: "Why, Mom, why did you betrayed me..."
Wayne: "Walter, here's some items, a survival kit, you'll need, I stole the credit cards from Mom, I advised you to escape during the night."
Chicago Summerdale District Station
CNN: "This is a late-breaking report from Chicago's Comer Children Hospital, a 12 years old Deaf child has escaped overnight to avoid a CI procedure scheduled for this morning, an nationwide amber alert is in effect, Chicago police are investigating the incident, we'll have a news conference shortly at Summerdale..."
Illinois State Wrestling Tournament
Sheriff: "We have a warrant for your arrest, would you please come down to the station for questioning."
Rudy: "I have a right to a lawyer and an interpreter."
Sheriff: "Kidnapping a child is a felony, we want to know where Walter is?"
Rudy: "I came all the way to Jacksonville for this, and I have no idea what's the hell you talking about."
Sheriff: "Your sister claims you have kidnapped Walter from the Comer Children's Hospital overnight when he was scheduled to have a CI procedure in the morning, hold (answering phone), you have an alibi, we just got videos that your nephew used the subways alone, and also withdrawn money from an ATM, enough to be on the road months, if not days."
McHenry County, Illinois
Rudy: "What are you doing hiding in my apartment the police were looking all over for you, there is an Amber Alert in effect."
Walter: "Rudy, I don't want a CI."
Rudy: "Here's what I will do I will call a Deaf lawyer to represent you, a priest will come pick you up so you can hide in a Church sanctuary, in the meantime, I will contact my friends to set up an underground railroad of safe houses." (priest pick up Walter and takes him to an undisclosed location)
Old Greenfield, Connecticut
John: "Welcome to our household Walter, this is my wife, Joan, my boys..."
Jason and Jeffrey: "Isn't it cool seeing your picture on milk cartons, you are famous."
Joan: "CNN have just reported that the FBI raided a church in the Cincinnati area, and came up short, but arrested several illegal aliens, and started deportation proceedings against them."
Walter: "My lawyer have just put in a motion for emancipation of a minor, then my uncle may get temporary custody, until the issues are resolved."
Jason and Jeffrey: "Come play with us, we are building a time machine out of legos."
Joan: "CNN is on, Walter's mother being interviewed."
John: "Boys!"
CNN Chicago Affiliate
Mary: "Walter, wherever you are, please come home, we missed you, we love you (siblings in background signing, DON'T), ..."
CNN: "Why you would want to force your child to undergo a CI procedure against his will?"
Mary: "It is my right as a parent make those decisions, I wanted Walter to be normal like us, the Deaf are lepers in our modern society."
CNN: "We now go to McHenry County where Rudy, Walter's uncle lives, Ricky will voice interpret."
Rudy: "We just had a wonderful time last weekend in the Wisconsin northwoods, he just bag his first whitetail, I know he's in good hands within our Deaf community protecting him, using a network of safe houses, our own underground railroad, during the civil war, we free our slaves by providing safe passage from the south, nowadays we must free our Deaf children from the bondage of CI. Walter loves his mother but was rejected at birth, deprived of his birthright, ASL."
CNN: "Here's an update from the courtroom, the federal judge rejected the motion that Walter be emancipated, AgBAD announces a reward of $100,000, ACLU became involved in the case on the mother's side, advocating parental rights, it looks like the odds are against Walter."
Old Greenfield, Connecticut
Walter: "I can't believe my own mother called me a leper." (tears down his cheek)
Joan: "Please answer the door." (doorlight flashes)
John: "Rudy, What a surprise, we didn't..."
Walter: "Uncle Rudy!" (hugs)
Rudy: "Walter, may I introduce you to Steven, this Deaf gentleman, who have the same common interests as you do."
Steven: "Walter, It's nice to see you, I am a friend of your uncle, I met your mother 12 years ago at the Chicago Deaf Club, we had a one night stand, I heard about you in the news, I was unaware that your mother became pregnant, and I had to take a paternity test, I am your father, the court gave me custody of you, the mother declares unfit, finally it's all over."
Walter: "Dad, (crying) I thought you were dead, shot down over Yugoslavia, I love you Dad, thanks for saving me." (hugs)
The mother  appeals the decision, trying to regain custody, the courts are tied up with other cases, so  time is in Walter favor, so once he bacame of legal age (18), he's free to be Deaf forever.

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