ASL Field Trip to YimSoo Cafe and Setsatian School for the Deaf
The Wells Sign Language Club took a memorable trip on the 14th of February. The trip started off with the YimSoo cafe, a cafe that hires employees with hearing disabilities, hence the only language they communicate in is sign language. This was great practice and experience for the Sign Club members since we have been preparing for this kind of interaction for months. The Sign Club also had the opportunity to talk to the owner of the cafe, aiding the members in the process of understanding the motivation it took to start a business in Thai culture that’s friendly for the hearing disabled.
Afterwards, the Sign Club visited the Setsatian School for the Deaf, a visit both the students at the school and the club members enjoyed. The members played various games and activities, and interacted with the children in sign. It was definitely an experience the members will remember and look forward to a similar experience again in the near future.
“When my club members and I reached the Yimsoo Cafe, I immediately noticed that it was a quiet and peaceful environment. I didn’t know what to do because I thought the workers could only speak Thai Sign Language. I was wrong, as there was a worker who could speak both ASL and TSL. I couldn’t talk to her at first, because I was nervous for some reason. Then I saw how friendly she was talking to Ms. Viessa and another club member. Soon enough, I had the chance to introduce myself!
Everyone in Setsatian School does exactly the same things hearing people do, except they do more. We all know there are some successful deaf people in our midst, so we can’t just assume all deaf people are disabled and hopeless. I don’t know how to explain more of this experience, I didn’t want it to end. I wouldn’t know what it’s like to be deaf, but I could only imagine. I’m looking forward to being fluent in this ASL. I want to continue and hopefully be part of the deaf community.”
–Justin, Class of 2021 (Leader)
“In ASL class, at Setsatian School, the seniors were learning to fingerspell short words, and we also had a chance to introduce ourselves to the class. I was so impressed by the teacher’s facial expressions along with Ms. Viessa’s narration. Before we went back to Wells, I walked past a group of hearing seniors from that class, and he said the word ‘thank you’ to me. Right at that moment, I promised myself that I would never forget this day and would come to the Saturday class one day.”
–Pach, Class of 2020
“The reason why we went to Yimsoo Cafe was that some workers at Yimsoo Cafe are deaf and we found out that Yimsoo Cafe hires deaf workers, too. When we first entered the cafe, the place was quiet and well decorated. After we ordered drinks, some of our club members tried to have a conversation by using sign language with workers. Later, we met the owner of Yimsoo Cafe and I recognized him because the logo of YImsoo Cafe was a drawing of him. He was blind but I could see him facing his face to us, which looked like he could see.”
–Sandy, Class of 2020
“During the time in Setsatian school, we enjoyed the time we played with the kids who studied in kindergarten. Their attitude was very active and curious about everything, which is the same with a normal kid. It wasn’t the same as what people think. They thought those muted students would be negative and hopeless. However, they were very active and energetic when we arrived at the school, and although they can’t speak properly like us, they have enough confidence to face different kinds of problems.”
–Gordon, Class of 2021
“Before joining Sign Club, I essentially had no idea whatsoever about Sign Language. The only things I knew were that people who were deaf use it and you use your hands in order to communicate quickly. To my surprise, there wasn’t actually a single, universal Sign Language but instead, like our everyday speaking languages, many different variants such as ASL (American Sign Language) and TSL (Thai Sign Language). One of the workers there knew both ASL and TSL and it was incredibly astonishing to see them communicate with one of our leaders. After about an hour, when we were about to leave the cafe, I asked the owner for more information about this business (If this was a family business, if his family supported his decision in the beginning, how their supply of pure coffee beans were different from the rest, etc.).
–Dan, Class of 2021
“We met children and teachers at a library in the school. I think around 20 children came to the library with teachers. Teachers were talking with children using sign language. Each of the club members introduced their sign names. The children tried to remember all the sign names and they would repeat the sign three or four times. It was so cute. This was my first time communicating with deaf children, but they welcomed us and communicated with us kindly. And I found my stereotype of deaf people was not correct. It changed.”
–Yuna, Class of 2021
“The Yim-soo cafe hires employees who are hearing impaired and the best part about this cafe was when we got to communicate with some of the employees through ASL. Some of our club members were ecstatic when one of the employees knew ASL. When the day was finally over, I understood that language isn’t just about the words and letters. Language is universal and means of communication can be born from numerous kinds of expression. It’s just so creative and incredible to see how humans can interact with each other in various ways.”
–Wadi, Class of 2021
Wells ASL Club would like to extend our appreciation and gratitude to the owner of YimSoo Cafe and Setsatian School for the Deaf for giving us a warm welcome and helping us gain first-hand knowledge and experience in the deaf community. We look forward to continued future collaboration!
Written By: Wadi Shun Let (Class of 2021)