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Introducing Lisa Ramansar from Trinidad
Image description: At the start of the video, the text on the screen says “Part 1 – Interview with Deaf woman Lisa Ramansar from Trinidad. She grew up going to a hearing school and never went to deaf school to learn sign language. She did well and got 4 CXCs. She started to learn sign language at age 21 in Trinidad. She enjoyed being with the deaf and learning lots of new signs”. Then for most of the video, a woman and a man are standing in an office signing to each other and the camera. Other image descriptions are in the transcript below when relevant.
Transcript: [Man standing to the right signs to the camera] Hello and welcome to Caribbean Deaf News! Now I’m introducing [he gestures to the woman standing next to him, and the woman waves to the camera]. I will interview her, are you ready? [Points to camera and winks. Then turns to the woman and signs to her.] What is your name?
Lisa Ramansar: My name is Lisa Ramansar.
Q: Your name sign?
Lisa: [Shows name sign, letter “L” at the corner of her eye]
Q: Cool! That means [touches the corners of his eyes]?
Q: And where were you born?
Lisa: The country where I was born was Trinidad.
Q: Trinidad! Beautiful. Did you go to a Deaf school?
Lisa: No, never.
Q: Wow! Why not?
Lisa: Why? Because I was at a hearing school. Communication was hard. I learned more and more, then I transferred to a private school. The principal and my teachers tried to teach me to try for deaf communication. It was hard, I was still oral [speaking]. But I studied and passed my CXCs. [CXCs are Caribbean Examinations Council Secondary Education Certificate]
Lisa: I took four [CXCs]–principles of arts and typing. I failed math, that was difficult.
Q: No matter, you can keep trying
Lisa: And English, I failed because it was hard to understand all the words.
Q: No matter what the challenges, you have kept working and trying!
[Image of a gate leading into a small school campus. Text on the screen identifies this as “Navet Presbyterian School”. Next, we see a photo of Lisa from when she was younger. The caption on the screen says “This is college school for 7 years and got 4 CXCs.” Now we see Lisa and the Caribbean Deaf News journalist again.]
Q: Are you fully deaf?
Lisa: Why? When I was born, my mother found I was deaf. The doctor said I was deaf. I grew up orally [with speaking/lip reading]. But one ear, yes, like a storm, truck, or drumming I can hear. But when my father travels and shoots an animal I can hear that. But people talking on the phone, I cannot hear the words, I can’t understand them. I can only understand by using my eyes to lipread, that’s all.
Finding Sign Language
Q: Wow! How did you learn to sign so quickly?
Lisa: [Laughs.] Yes. When I was growing up, I was oral. When I was about 21, I saw a deaf person signing. I asked them, and they wrote an address and gave it to me. I went looking for the place, a deaf school. At first I went to the wrong place, and they told me where to go. I went to King Street. I met Joyce Weston. She’s a good, special woman! I talked to her and said that I’m deaf. She asked, “Oh you don’t know signs”, and I said “no, I don’t know signs”. The next day, Joyce called and invited me to go camping with a group of deaf people. I said no, because I had to work in photography job.”
Learning to Sign
Q: So you had a conflict.
Lisa: She told me camping would be good to socialize with deaf people and learn sign language and bible studies. I was not sure. She gave me papers. I went to talk to my boss and showed them the papers. They accepted and gave permission for me to go. I was so excited! The next day I went to the camp. I was so nervous–I did not know how to sign or have a conversation. How will I understand? I asked for help with teaching me sign language. When we talked about the bible, I ignored the book and watched people signing full time. That’s how I learned to sign!
Lisa Ramansar Happy to Sign
Q: A beautiful experience! [Signing to the camera] So growing up she didn’t sign, but then she learned to sign and grew. [Signing to Lisa] How do you feel about signing now?
Lisa: It makes me happy to sign because I remember looking back, it was so hard for me to communicate. Communication did not work well. It was hard to communicate with my family. I was not happy. Now I can communicate with deaf people, that makes me happy.
[Text on screen says, “To be continued. Interview part 2 coming soon. (smiley face, thumbs up sign) In Trinidad, Gulf City Mall, South. Videography by Ryan and Dario Nightengale. Editing by Dario Nightengale. Copyright 2018-2019 Caribbean Deaf News.]
About this Video
Watch as the online television channel, Caribbean Deaf News, interviews with Lisa Ramansar. Here, in the first of a three-part interview, Lisa shares how she grew up without sign language. Then she explains how she learned to sign as a young adult. Lisa and the journalist with Caribbean Deaf News are signing. A full transcript is available here in English.
More Lisa Ramansar Videos
You can also watch their second interview video with Lisa Ramansar. In the second video, Lisa explains her work in modeling and make up artistry. This video has captions in English.
Also watch their third interview video with Lisa Ramansar. In the third video, Lisa describes her many talents including making false flowers, cooking, and using a sewing machine to make clothes. This video has captions in English.
Caribbean Deaf News
Other Resources at MNI Website
You may also want to watch Susana Stiglich’s story. Similar to Lisa, she grew up deaf, but did not learn to sign until she was an adult. Or you can also explore other resources about Deaf people in the Caribbean islands.