They Don’t Care About the Deaf

"In the mosque, they don't care about the Deaf."

Tamale is the largest town in the northern region of Ghana, and the DOOR Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL) Bible translation team traveled 8 ½ hours to get there.

Why would the team travel so far to this remote town in Ghana when all of their work took place at the DOOR center in Nairobi, Kenya? The answer is simple: community checks.

Community checks are a critical part of sign language Bible translation. After a team has filmed drafts of multiple passages, they will travel to several towns in their home country to show the passages to the local Deaf community so that the community can check whether the signed translation is clear, natural, and acceptable, according to the standards set forth by the Forum of Bible Agencies International (FOBAI).

Many Deaf people showed up at the community check in Tamale, eager to see what the translation team had brought. All of the attendees (aside from the DOOR translation team) were Islamic. God showed up powerfully in Tamale!

Due to their Islamic background, the Deaf people of Tamale had never been exposed to Scripture before. As the DOOR translators saw the Bible passages unfold on the screen before the Ghanaians’ eyes, they saw God’s hand at work. Questions bombarded the translators throughout the sessions and at the end of each day. The team stayed to answer all the questions after the checks were finished, ensuring all the Deaf attendees were satisfied before they left.

One of the Islamic attendees shared: “In the mosque, they don’t care about the Deaf. When the preaching is done, they leave. I can’t ask them questions. So, I only go there for prayers, nothing else. But this…this is different. Being here helps me know that God cares about us.”

The president of the Deaf association in Northern Ghana pleaded with DOOR to share the Ghanaian Sign Language translation far and wide among the Deaf people in Ghana once the work was done. And today, all of the 110 passages translated in this project are available on YouTube or DOOR’s website!