Saturday 4 April, 2020

Paul wishes more people signed in Barbados

“Please teach your children sign language!”

Signing quickly, Paul Cox, is making an urgent plea for parents, guardians and teachers to teach signs to children.

“Start with a,b,c, 1,2,3, and then they will learn more as they grow so more people would be able to sign.”

With a big smile, Paul, who is deaf, said that this is his Christmas wish for Barbados.

Loop sat and signed with Paul when he took a break from his job packing shelves in the vegetable section at Massy Supermarket Warrens this morning. He was very enthusiastic throughout the interview.

The 51-year-old, who lives alone, said that though his neighbours are all hearing, he has no problems in his community. At work, he said he and another deaf girl are the only two who really sign.

Therefore, he really wants more people to learn sign language.

Loop got in contact with Paul after his interaction with one shopper, Khalil Goodman, was so pleasant that the customer went to Facebook and shared his experience.

Paul was surprised to learn that Khalil was moved to talk to others about that brief interaction. Shaking his right hand up and down to sign ‘yes’ while nodding his head as well, excitedly he said that he remembered the exchange because the gentleman asked for ‘K-A-L-E’.

Khalil told Loop that he knows little sign but, "From that encounter I realized how important it is that I learn sign language properly."

Supervisor in the Produce Department, Gregory Hutson said:

“If I had two or three more like Paul I’d be a very happy man. He is very attentive to his job. I have never had a problem with him. He is a real asset to the Produce Department. From day one, he is always on time.”

Paul said that he rises at 4:00 a.m., gets ready by 5:30 a.m. and catches the 6:00 a.m. bus to be at work by 7:00 a.m. daily. Next January will make 10 years he was working with Massy Stores.

Hutson said, “He is very proactive too. When he sees something needs to be done, he does not wait to be told. I would recommend him for any job.”

Living with deafness in Barbados, Paul said that being deaf here is not as easy as when he travels to New York to visit his brother and sister who both live there. He says when he travels for vacation every year religiously it is lots of fun.

“I message my deaf friends who live in New York; they left Barbados and when we meet up it’s lots of hugs and stuff.”

Casting his mind abroad he smiled and said, “I love the shopping. I buy lots of things. I love the shopping trip.  Everything over there is cheap, here… everything is expensive.”

Stating that life in Barbados for deaf people is “very hard” he said that teaching sign to children from early is one significant step that can be done.

Additionally, remembering how scared he was when Barbados had the earthquake years ago, he said that receiving text messages for weather warnings would be great too.

Making closed captioning (CC) seem like the best invention since sliced bread, Paul said for fun he watches movies, soap operas, “everything, once I have CC on the TV”. He also loves the beach and volleyball. 

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