We continue with our Humans of Camphill project to find out what life is really like at our community from the perspective of our residents and service users.
Next up is Fiona D., who’s been living with us since the 80s!
CMKC: Where did you live before you came here?
FD: I went to a Camphill school in Aberdeen for a few years. It was a school for hearing impaired students. I learned writing and Makaton – a form of sign language there.
CMKC: What were the biggest changes and challenges of moving to Camphill?
FD: When I moved here, I was already familiar with Camphill communities. Being deaf meant things had to be adapted to my needs specifically. I had a special fire alarm installed in my bedroom and bathroom. When the alarm goes off, I will be able to see flashing lights, or if I’m sleeping in my bed, a device under my pillow vibrates to wake me up. I also had a unique doorbell fitted, which works similar to the fire alarm.
As I do not use verbal communication, co-workers and staff learned to communicate with me using the written method. Some of the residents and staff can sign a little, which helps a lot.
I also have a software called Symwritter on my laptop and some of the staff’s computers. It puts pictures and symbols on text, which helps me to understand the writing better. A lot of documents are presented to me using this software.
CMKC: What do you like best about Camphill Milton Keynes?
FD: I like my art and craft, I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles, painting and sequence art and I never get bored. Recently I bought a Samsung tablet, and I love the art App. I also enjoy photography and go swimming once a week. Best of all, I like our festivals, gatherings, Sunday services and all sorts of events at Camphill. There’s always a birthday party or two every month, and I make sure that I don’t miss a single one.
Although I’m deaf, I love to go to Joan’s singing sessions, where I sit, happily watching people singing and dancing.
CMKC: What have you learned or achieved since coming here?
FD: I’m part of the newsletter team where I demonstrate Makaton in every issue in my very own column called ‘Learn Makaton with Fiona’. I’m also part of the bakery team, thanks to Maria S’ support, I can bake quite well with help. I think that my biggest achievements are my artwork, which I am very proud of.
CMKC: What are your hopes and plans for the future?
FD: We are planning some Makaton sessions in the newsletter workshop for next year. The idea is to set a time slot aside so I can teach people Makaton.