© 2006

Holiday time in SayWhat Village 2006
by Martha Mattox

A soft snow covered the ground . A snow blower had cleared the sidewalk. The trees glittered with the snow icicles hanging from them. Everything was quiet. Not a peep could be heard. Sparkling holiday decor greets everyone upon entering the main castle in SayWhat Village. The board members are setting up the Christmas tree and preparing the Menorah. Linda B. had volunteered to pick up all the items needed to celebrate Kwanzaa.  The candle holder, the straw placemat, some fresh fruits and vegetables, enough ears of corn to reflect the number of children in the household, a communal unity cup, seven candles consisting of one black, three red and three green and then the gifts.

Many changes have taken place this year and that includes our Board of Directors. A lot of new faces and names can be seen around the lists now, as well as some old familiar ones.  Bobee left and the new board is being led by a classy elf named Jazzy. She is very outgoing and sees that the needs of the Village are met. Other familiar elves are Cathy, Marti and Susan D. New elves on the board are Linda W., Donna, and Don.

The elves are busy preparing the SayWhat Village for the upcoming holidays. Hot cider, hot toddies, scrumptious food, songs to be sung, candles to be lit, everyone together like a community should be.

Down the hallway are the groups that represent each cottage. The cottages are called Explore, for the new members; DHC for the Deaf Hearing Couples; a cottage for those interested in Cochlear implants; a cottage called Global for the politically minded; one for Internationals called Terra. For parents who have children with hearing loss, there is a cottage called Our Children. Then there are general cottages that have people discussing any topics that one may face. These cottages are called World, Connect, Forum, Vistas and Friends, each unique in their very own way.

Each cottage is represented by a list rep member on the list rep committee. They are: Julie as Chair, Jack as co Chair , Anita, Gladys, Brenda, Linda B, Lorne, Maurice, Lorie, Bet, and Suz. The elves in the room work hard on ideas to make each of their cottages a better place to be.

Farther down the hallway is another room. This room is filled with computers.  These elves speak computer language and put together web pages for all to play with. They are the web tech committee.  The head toymaker of this group is Cathy who is also on the board. The elves are busy updating and creating new ideas. One idea which they have been working on is a new chat room where all the lists can come together as one. The other toymakers are Arthur who is also webmaster along with Cathy, and Kate, Alan and Ann.

Across the hallway from the Web tech is the Newsletter Room. With the Holidays quickly approaching, they are busy collecting stories, proofreading and developing the newest and latest edition to the SWC quarterly Newsletter. Pearl as chief editor is preparing the oil for the chanukah celebration to last eight nites; Linda B will bring the seven guiding principles to light for all to understand, and their helpers Lorne, Diana, and Cathy will bring us all joy and support to bring it all together.

Sliding down the hallway we have a room for Convention Committee parties. This committee works so hard all year to create the yearly face to face meeting with all the cottages together. The room is filled with posters and pamphlets of Las Vegas, as all prepare for the upcoming convention. The committee will work very hard locating many speakers to come and educate everyone on hearing loss issues. In this room you will see Jazzy who is the Chair for this committee, and Cathy, Linda B, Leslie, Susan D., Dale O., and Donna.

In another room, there are elves that help new members. This committee is called the Hospitality Committee. We see Dawn the head elf greeting the new members along with Debbie who is the co-head elf. Also working with new members are Mary, Martha, Jill, Gina, Mark, Laura, and Patsi. They all make sure the newcomers feel comfortable.

As the lights start to blink, the black board lights up with red letters, telling everyone to please come to the Big Room. A meeting is about to be held. Everyone immediately goes to the Big Room where CART and interpreters are on hand and others reach for an assistive device. Jazzy gets up to speak.

"Happy Holidays to all of you. This year has brought  many changes to our SayWhat Village. I am proud of everyone's help in pulling together as a community. A community just like the principle of Umoja. During the Kwanzaa observance, Umoja stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is like the African saying, "I am because we are." During this time of changes, we helped one another out and encouraged each other. We will grow and continue to promote unity in dealing with our hearing losses and giving support to each other." At the end of Jazzy's speech everyone waves their hands in the air and claps to show they are supporting their new leaders and other members of the SayWhat Village.

The reindeer are all ready with the sleigh full of hearing aids, assistive devices, and other great gifts.   Jazzy gives each reindeer a lump of sugar to prepare for their flight. She jumps into the sleigh and calls the reindeer by their name. Off the reindeers go to help those who do not have hearing aids, assistive devices, and other hearing loss helps.  Jazzy's radio blares with holiday music in the genre for which she got her name.

And with a New Year here, we wish all a Happy Holiday season. May the
crossing of cultures, bring us world peace and to all a good night.


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