Speaking Without Words
When I first began to share about the work of the Himalayan Mutt Project in Singapore, one of the questions I got was, “How will you communicate with them if you don’t speak the language?” During our pilot camp, we faced greater challenges than that. We learned how to communicate without words at all.
The two goat shepherds in this picture (far left, and far right) are deaf-mute. We learned about their camp with the help of the guy at the back (without hat) who’s a local from Koto village, a pretty, little village off Chame. Their camp is essentially a tent constructed out of an orange tarpaulin, within which, housed all their necessities. Outside, their herd of goats wandered around the hillsides, grazing on the Springtime grass. Some got on small boulders and practiced head-butting each other. One of the young goats had a splint on its front leg. Apparently it had been mistakenly attacked by one of the dogs. The dogs are now kept on a tether when the herd is being held at camp.
We tried with hand gestures at first, to explain that we had set up a camp in Chame, and were neutering dogs and giving anti-rabies vaccinations. Gesturing that we were going to cut open the dogs, made the men unsettled. Hell, it’d make me unsettled! But “Snowmonkey” quickly turned to ask if I’d recorded footage of our procedures in the compact digital I was carrying around with me. With the help of videos of operations shot on the camera, we showed them what our camp was about and they got a better idea of what their dogs would be going through.
After looking through the videos they agreed for us to take 3 of their mutts – two of which were sterilised, and one that was vaccinated-only since it was too young. During our camp, we successfully communicated with more than a handful of deaf-mute folk, many of whom where also illiterate.
The Himalayan Mutt Project is raising funds for our 2017 neutering and anti-rabies vaccination camp in Nepal Himalaya. DONATE today!