echo wrote:I have a small group of Deaf, Deaf-Blind and Hearing friends (fluent signers) from the Pacific Northwest who are coming out for BM 2010. This will be our first year coming out together.
We would like to connect with any other Deaf Burners, Camps, and Staff. If you know anyone who fits the description above or have feedback, please help us come together and share.
I would love to meet you guys. I'm Eli, or 10-9 as DPW/Gate like to call me. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I'm all over the place. So, it can be a bit hard to track me down.
However, I can assure you that a good deal of volunteers in DPW, Gate, ESD, Rangers and Center Camp are either deaf-friendly or familiar enough with the notion of a hearing impaired person that they'll roll with it more so than some random Joe Schmuck who never met a deaf person.
Locations to scout out for various degrees of deaf-friendliness:
â€¢ Syzygryd Base Camp (4:45 & Cairo)
: home to my art collective, Interpretive Arson, and other folks who built and installed Syzygryd. Most folks here are deaf-friendly and a good percentage know some sign language, from having worked with me for the past five years. At least one person is fluent. I'll be helping staff Syzygryd throughout the week and can be found at this camp often since it's the support base for Syzygryd. There are numerous camps who are also deaf-friendly either through having had deaf campers or having campers fluent in ASL. Trashistan and Lost Penguins, for example. There was one camp home to Gallaudet grads a year or two ago, but I never managed to track them down. About six or seven years ago, there was a deaf camp but nothing as cohesive since then, to my knowledge. And there is a deaf skydiver at Burning Man, but I'm unsure of her name or where to find her other than perhaps asking at the airport on playa.
â€¢ Syzygryd: 7:30 & 1200' from manbase
, in the inner playa. Friday night is when two signers (myself and another person) will be operating the sculpture. I believe the other person will be operating the sculpture earlier in the week as well, but I can't remember which night. Probably Monday or Tuesday. Those are good nights to come by if you want to ask questions or interact with the sculpture without the hassle of writing back and forth.
â€¢ Center Camp, various components
: at least two managers of the coffee bar are very deaf-friendly (one of them operates the 11pm-3am shift while the other is the overall coffee cafe manager), two members of Center Camp's lighting team are ASL fluent (one is a former interpreter), and the stage manager also signs.
â€¢ Black Hole (5:40 & D)
: the Gate & Perimeter department's camp. The front area is open to visitors. This department is home to two deaf volunteers (myself and another person, a gal named Val), and one of the Gate shift leads is a CODA who signs beautifully (Moshe). Who knows -- you might get to meet one of us when you pass through the gate.
â€¢ Kidsville (5:30 & D)
: home to deaf campers & their kids at least twice since '08, including this summer.
: As already mentioned, there are multiple rangers who know how to sign or are deaf-friendly. Fred, another fluent signer, will probably be out this year, along with the others who already chimed in. I'm not sure of Fred's playa name, though. Maybe Beauty will know. Leeway is also super deaf-friendly. Really, the whole crew is one giant mass of deaf-friendliness.
â€¢ Medical Station 9 (9:00 & ... C or B?)
: home to some medics who know various degrees of sign language. Look for Big Spoon, for instance.
â€¢ DPW in general
: they've had to endure me for a few years. I'd say that most of them know the shtick by now. And some of them have learned sign language, even! Mostly things you don't want to repeat back to your mothers, though.
Other than that, all I can really say is that there is no need to worry. People will find you and vice versa, through word of mouth. Just carry a small note pad and a felt marker or Sharpie with you at all times, and roll with things.
The only times I've found that I absolutely need an interpreter -- as somebody who depends on ASL and is a terrible lipreader -- are when I'm in a speech-intensive meeting or am receiving medical care for something that prevents me from writing back-and-forth.
That may differ depending on each person's needs, though, so my experiences shouldn't be taken as standard for all folks who are hearing impaired. That can't be stressed enough for anybody reading this. Just because Special K can lipread and is comfortable being oral, doesn't mean that I have the same specific type of ability or that others in Echo's camp would. And just because I'm fluent in/prefer ASL doesn't mean the same in return. Likewise for English fluency and comfort level with typing or writing. I prefer to type; others prefer to write; yet others prefer to use creative gestures. Listening to what each person with a hearing impairment is showing or telling you what they need for clear communication and equal access is important, and I've found that people on playa are fairly responsive to this.
Also, I've found that the old Sidekick phones are amazingly durable on playa. I use them for typing with folks when I don't feel like writing or have the patience for waiting through somebody's finger-spelling. The keyboards on the Sidekick 2 phones will peel off in the heat, but the Sidekicks with the hard keyboards are perfect, really. I use them heavily for two months out there each year, through whiteouts and unusual abuse, and they keep working the rest of the year. So, if any of your campers are more comfortable using a keyboard to type, I can't recommend the Sidekicks enough. They're cheap on Craigslist or Ebay, and you don't need to activate phone or data service in order to use them for typing. I haven't found any other device-with-keyboards that are as durable and desert-friendly as these.
Oh, and, um, I don't recommend air mattresses if any of your campers are particularly sensitive to vibrations. The reverberations of the constant thump-thump gets old as soon as you want to sleep.
Anyway, see you guys soon!