Thoughtful Acts of Love and It's Impact on Me

ARREY- ECHI
Posted September 11, 2020 from Cameroon
A Screen Short of #ThrivingThursday. Credit: WhatsApp Ambassador Forum
A beautiful collage of some of the smiling, loving faces I always look eager to every Thursday

"Do you hear what they are saying?"

"I read what they are saying".

I could see a little confused look so I went on to explain: "The people know I do not hear well so, they make sure someone is available to transcribe for me"

"Oh wow! That is Beautiful!' She exclaimed.

The above conversation happened between I and my colleague. She has noticed I sometimes participate on zoom calls and I do so with all the focus needed. Her questions made me think she may have probably wondered how I follow the calls. It is no secret, to everyone who knows me, that I am hearing impaired so attending a zoom call and doing so regularly would have made anyone wondered. "How does she follow?" "is she just starring at the screen?" could probably be questions running through their minds.

So yes, It was beautiful indeed as my colleague exclaimed that I follow these zoom calls and meetings with the aid of transcribers. Even more beautiful is the fact that there are those who have been just as ready and willing to transcribe as the years go.

You see, due to my hearing impairment, I am always reluctant to get involved with anything which requires calls and online discussions. That reluctance has made me miss a lot of opportunities I would have loved to part take in and it would have been the same with my World Pulse journey if I didn't take to heart the encouragement of Precious, the sister who introduced me to World Pulse, to voice my concerns to the Team of The Voices of The Future (VOF) Class of 2016. I was super excited when I got the link to apply. However, that excitement almost died when I saw it would involve more online calls.

So, I took the advise, wrote to the team and asked what they had in place to make things easier for someone with hearing impairment. The reply came in and there was a question showing they would love to make the experience easier for me and so, they asked; " How can we help you get the best out of this and what is your best mode of communication?"

My reply set the precedence of how I would be involved with calls on World Pulse and as my journey progressed to becoming an Ambassador, Featured Change Maker and Encourager, It became even more pronounced as it means more calls to attend. These beautiful, thoughtful acts of love have remained steady companions as I journey on through World Pulse. They have moulded my journey here and have greatly impacted me in more ways than I could count.

From the very first time when Corine so willingly and passionately accepted to diligently transcribe for me during each VOF class to the willingness and readiness with which everyone today is alert to start transcribing when I am in a call, speaks a lot to my heart. I feel the conscious awareness without the need to constantly remind the team that 'hmm, I cannot attend this call because'... everyone is aware and so, it is like a world pulse tradition...where Arrey is on a call, keep the chatbox and keyboard busy' :)

One day during our #ThrivingThursdayCalls, we had to sing. Before I could voice out 'I will not hear the songs', Karen has already typed on the Whatsapp Forum 'everyone should please write out their lyrics for our sister Arrey on the chatbox'.

That single request did me a number. The thoughtfulness went straight to my heart.  While I have to constantly repeat myself to some people to please type what the speaker is saying, constantly ask if there will be a transcriber or a way for me to follow their calls since I cannot hear and worst, even dread some calls and outrightly refuse others because there is no chance at inclusiveness, I eagerly anticipate World Pulse calls.

In these calls, I feel loved. I feel heard. I feel everyone is just as excited to see me as I am to see them. I feel part of the team. Are there times I wish I could actually hear and get engage in the chatter and all?  Yes. Still, I do not feel left out or slighted because I have been reminded so many times that my presence and voice matters. Seeing Dawn, Manasa, Maeann, Kirthi, Mama Tam, All the weekly EPs, in fact, seeing everyone of you dear sisters passionately ready to go the extra mile and doing so happily means a lot to me. And because of you all, I set my standards high on what I could expect from a zoom call.

You all helped me see that requesting people include a transcriber on zoom calls is not too high a demand to make and it is in fact, something that can easily be included IF they are willing to LISTEN and do so.

I have had to drop out of an MA program because I didn't really feel listened to.  I made a simple request of asking that a transcriber be included in each class. However, the organizers felt they could do something else that could 'work'. Of course, two lecturers... both women... really tried to make things easier by trying different online call options, but it was still not enough. My "can you please transcribe' during 90% of the other lectures became like a refrain and in most cases, I ended up frustrated starring at the screen. To be able to pass through that program, I needed every lecturer to LISTEN to what I said could be the best possible way out and so sadly, I had to put a pause and discontinue the program because, it left me more frustrated. The excitement to pursue the program gradually died. During that period, I found myself constantly saying I wished the organisers could take a leaf from world pulse and make things easier.

World Pulse has become the standard with which I hold each person who wants me on their call. I am always saying in my mind, 'If World Pulse could listen and go out of their way to do it, it means everyone could make the effort to be a little more inclusive'. I guess, I will always have this wish that everyone could be like world pulse in being inclusive especially as the world gets more and more digital and anyone who couldn't make the effort would be found wanting. When the bar is set high, it stays high or gets higher, not lower.

And this is possible only because of you all dear sisters who have genuinely embraced me and continue to make me feel very much a part of the team. I am because you all are. Your collective thoughtful acts of love will forever be cherished. They have all contributed to make me the person I am today. They are a testament that when love reigns, we are stronger together. And the circle gets bigger out of the Pulse as more people are gradually making the effort to accommodate me when I ask about including transcribers. This is because you all listened and didn't discard my request at the very beginning. The future indeed, is inclusive.

And again as my colleague exclaimed, It is indeed, a beautiful experience.

This story was submitted in response to Stronger Together.

Comments 17

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Jill Langhus
Sep 11
Sep 11

Hello Arrey Love,

How are you doing, dear? What a lovely tribute to World Pulse and the love within:-) You are heard and you are loved. I'm glad you feel it. I love how you called Tam, "Mama Tam:-)" I think she'll love it, too. Thanks so much for sharing. I don't think it's too much to ask to ask other companies and organizations to raise their bar. Is it really that difficult to embrace compassion?

I hope you're doing well, and that you have a good weekend, dear.

XX

ARREY- ECHI
Sep 14
Sep 14

Dear Sis Jill,
I am doing great today, thank you. I hope you are doing same too.
Thank you for reading as always. Yes, indeed, you are right. It is a tribute to the Love on which WP stands and which makes it easier for us to feel heard and loved.
It is the African child in me. I have tried and calling her 'Tam' just doesn't go. Mama Tam does have a nice ring to me ;)

Well, it is a relief to know it is not so much to ask. Maybe not about embracing compassion but rather embracing change and inclusiveness? The World generally has not been very inclusive until lately and it is worst in some places.
Many still believe those with disabilities are not worth much so policies are really not made with them in mind. Inclusiveness and especial education for instance are still on baby steps here.
Wish you a great week ahead.

Jill Langhus
Sep 16
Sep 16

Hello Dear,

Great to hear:-) You're welcome. Yes, I'm doing well, thanks.

That's too cute about "Mama Tam." I wonder if I could call her that:-) Ha.

Yes, on inclusiveness. Yeah, I hear you.

Too sad.

You, too, honey.

XX

Nini Mappo
Sep 11
Sep 11

Hello Arrey-Echi,
Your experience demonstrates not only care and compassion, but World Pulse's great leadership standards to which others are held up against. I am so glad for you, and also for all the value you add to this community through your presence and encouragement. It is only fitting that one who hears others and encourages them is heard, not in return, but because we are building community, together.
Great story, thank you for sharing.

ARREY- ECHI
Sep 14
Sep 14

Dear Nini,
I hope you are doing well today and pray it is a beautiful start to the week.
I do agree. WP leadership standards are worthy of emulation in every aspect of our lives especially as leaders because as you rightly said, we are building communities together and every voice is valuable. The future is inclusive. Leaders who do not think inclusiveness are cheating their communities, I believe.

Thank you for reading and for the kind words.

Basudha Modak
Sep 11
Sep 11

Thank you Busayo ..Aptly the title says it all,we can only leave an impact if we are with with the like-minded ...
My oxygen for the week too are thriving Thursdays

ARREY- ECHI
Sep 14
Sep 14

Hello Basudha,
I hope you are doing well. Thriving Thursdays are a great moment to recoup and recharge. Thank you for reading.
BTW, this is Arrey not Busayo ;)
Love and light.

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Sep 12
Sep 12

Dear Arrey,
Your beautiful story has just demonstrated the importance of inclusion in everything we do.Thank you for Sharing.

ARREY- ECHI
Sep 14
Sep 14

Hello Toyin,
I hope you are doing well. Thank you for reading. The importance of inclusion in our world today cannot be overlooked. The future is inclusive.

Tamarack Verrall
Sep 13
Sep 13

Dear Arrey,
This is so wonderful to read, and such a lovely gift back to our beloved World Pulse Team, who amaze me, too, in the love, care and dedication they all show, to meet every hurdle with heartfelt solutions. How very wonderful that the transcribing has been working for you, and that we have the chance to read what you have to offer, through the chat box. How awful that a University could not figure out how to meet your simple but essential request. With your permission I would love to repost your story on social media, hoping that others will learn what is possible and take action.
Love in sisterhood,
Tam

ARREY- ECHI
Sep 14
Sep 14

Dear Mama Tam,
Thank you so much for your always ready, thoughtful encouraging words. I do hope you are doing well today.
Indeed, the love, care and dedication we get from here is second to none. Yes, the transcribing has been of immeasurable help to me and I am glad I could also have the opportunity to share with everyone.

We are not very inclusive back here and it is very possible no one thought of a bigger picture of having someone with a disability in their insitution. However, I do believe it would have been a lot more easier and enjoyable to continue the program if they stopped to listen to what I proposed would have worked best for me. Stages in learning I guess but as the world gets more digital, inclusiveness is a MUST as a way forward.
To be able to help others better, we have to be willing to listen to their needs I think.
Thank you for seeing this shareable. Yes, you can share. Hopefully, it sheds more lights as you say, for people to see what can be done for an inclusive society.
With love and hugs,
Arrey

Isata Kabia
Sep 15
Sep 15

Thank you for sharing, Arrey. This is so beautiful. It is such a testament to the import of inclusion but also to how small acts have such a big impact. It is always possible to make a difference in somebody’s experience.

ARREY- ECHI
Sep 17
Sep 17

Hello Isata,
Welcome to the pulse. Happy to have you here. I hope you are doing well. Thank you for reading. Yes, that is very true. The import of inclusion and it's lasting effects cannot be over emphasised. The future is indeed inclusive.
Looking forward to reading more of you.
with love,

Anne-Chantal
Sep 15
Sep 15

What a great expression of love. This is a touching piece sis. I read and I smile in appreciation and gratitude at the efforts of all the wonderful World Pulse sisters.
It is not easy catching on when one feels left behind.
So happy you were not left behind.
Even happier you picked up the courage and carried on.
lots of love...

ARREY- ECHI
Sep 17
Sep 17

Thank you dear sis.
It is truly not easy being left behind and I am grateful the efforts to make sure I do not stay behind. In World Pulse, they not only talk the talk, they walk it too. It is an experience that will be with me for the rest of my life.
Thank you for the grateful and kind words.
Hope you are doing well today.
Lots of Love

Hello, my dear RED ROSE,

This is such a heartwarming post! I'm so happy you feel loved with our own little way of showing it to you. We love you, dearest Arrey! You are such a blessing. I always feel happy when I see you in our Zoom meetings. Thank you, too, for meeting us halfway by chatting your messages. You are super participative during Ambassador Calls.

You're such a good writer. Please share this on other online platforms, on what organizations can do to meet you halfway. I will definitely share this on my Aspire Reinvent Topic. With your permission, of course.

Thanks for sharing, dear!

ARREY- ECHI
Sep 25
Sep 25

Thank you so much my dear Sun Flower.
I feel the love always and I am glad to know it means a lot to see me during these calls.
I have shared with a few individuals wanting me to join their zoom calls.
That would be an honour, thank you. Yes, please, you do have my permission.
All the very best with the Aspire Conference. I wish I could follow but I will be cheering all the same.
Lots of love