Published Wed, Feb 06, 19. Written by Teresa Anderson.
On November 29th in Tagbilaran City on the island of Bohol, Philippines, 600 deaf men, women and children came together for a huge gathering of the IDEA deaf family. The event is known as the IDEA Deaf Festival and is held once every three years. Deaf students, alumni, and workers from all over the islands of Bohol and Leyte joined to celebrate their amazing community. Before the arrival of IDEA on Bohol there was no Deaf Community at all. Now it is vibrant, thriving, and very alive.
Over four days, this wonderful group of people held a sports festival, put on a tremendous show, enjoyed lots of good food, and reinforced lifetime friendships. The students also went Christmas shopping with money provided by their sponsors and donors. IDEA Founder, Dennis Drake, had his birthday during the festival. Dennis said in his inspirational talk that the life of every deaf person was like a gift to him. He thanked Jesus for the wonderful opportunity to have been able to serve this rare and special community.
This festival was held in our brand new Chuck and Francie Scheel Sports and Event Center up at the Bohol Deaf Academy campus. Some 45 years ago, Dennis Drake asked Chuck Scheel to be his life mentor. Because of the amazing advice and support given to him, Dennis credits Chuck for much of IDEA’s success. It is for this reason that the center was built to honor this amazing couple. A big THANK YOU to their family and friends who donated funds to build this beautiful facility. It will better serve the deaf on the island of Bohol for many generations to come!
As Nancy performed her work duties at the IDEA fly tying factory, such as checking on product quality and teaching new patterns, she noticed that some of the women were signing things about her. Almost everyone in the factory is deaf like Nancy. She caught someone asking another co-worker, “Is Nancy pregnant?” Gossip isn’t so easy to hide when using sign language. Nancy herself had noticed that her stomach had been growing for some reason and it was true, she was looking pregnant. But, her being pregnant wasn’t a possible reason for this sudden change.
One day, Marilou Drake noticed the change in Nancy as well and decided to speak with her directly about it. After their talk, Marilou was determined to send Nancy for tests and assured her that IDEA would stand by her. Nancy had joined IDEA’s school program when she was just 6 years old. She came out of extreme poverty, a broken home and also has a brother and sister who are deaf.
The results of the tests were not encouraging. They showed that Nancy had a very large tumor growing inside of her. She would need surgery and it was unknown if it was cancer. Nancy was so afraid of going under the knife that she followed her mother’s advice and went to visit the local witch doctor who had her drink some disgusting mixture. The concoction didn’t work and only made her sick to her stomach. After that experience, she realized that she needed to go to a real doctor.
But how in the world could she afford a surgery that could cost her two years’ worth of pay? Marilou called Nancy into the office and assured her that it would not cost that much and that IDEA would help her out. Accompanied by IDEA’s nurse and some friends, Nancy went through with the surgery. A grapefruit sized tumor was removed and found to be benign. NO CANCER. After two months of rest, she returned to her job and her role as one of the leaders of IDEA’s deaf Church. She’s now recovered and in better health. Nancy is part of the IDEA Bohol Deaf Family, a family that watches out for one another.