I first met fifteen-year old Bralin Perdoma when he came running into the Castro house wearing his colorful soccer uniform. He had super curly brown hair and bright shiny eyes. He was grinning from ear to ear, and I thought about the world he was missing out on by not being able to hear or speak.
Bralin attended a school for the disabled, but he was the only deaf student, and no one could really communicate with him. He was totally unhappy at school and often came home crying. I was able to get him into a hearing specialist who confirmed the diagnosis of profound deafness, the same diagnosis that he was given at age 2. Nothing really could be done for him. Hearing aids were not much of an option because older children usually do not adjust to them
I then researched the possibility of getting him into a school for the deaf where he could learn sign language. I found a good one in San Pedro Sula, Honduras about an hour away from his house, The Esmirna School for the Deaf. A bus picked him up and dropped him off each day.
For the first time in his life, Bralin made friends and was able to communicate with them through signing. He was able to purchase a decrepit old computer for eighty dollars, and is now able to use e-mail and Facebook. I watched with delight as Bralin begin to grow and flourish, as his world expanded to include friends, sign language, reading, and writing.
Bralin’s success has given me even more enthusiasm for building the Niños de Carlos foundation.