It was a sad day for me to see one of my favorite colleagues leaving my office last Friday. My blind colleague is being transferred out to the State Department for a new job adventure, but I'm happy for him; he's looking forward for it so much. We did have a farewell party for him last Wednesday, and I got to eat three free pizza slices! Whoo-hoo! He and I have become good friends and made jokes and shared common interests into technology and computers. You may wonder: "How in the world could a deaf person and a blind person communicate with each other?" The answer is: TECHNOLOGY. While technology make everything easier for people without disabilities, technology make everything possible for people with disabilities.
I am this very close to finish my biggest project, and I'm so much looking forward for more projects to come into my office in the near future. I'm sure that they are running out of ideas on what to give me, but I'm sure they will have something for me to do! :-) It has become more clear that they are enjoying it so much that I am here, considering that I am the only deaf person in the office; I'm also the only expert who knows programming.
My presentation to all deaf employees at DHS was GREAT; some came, most didn't make it. But the presentation was wonderful: they understood about Section 508 and our office's duties and responsibilities more clear. They did ask a lot of questions, which led to more clarifications for them to take more advantage and spread the word about our office. Before the presentation, I did went into the Secret Service building with my supervisor and my fellow deaf colleagues, and it was a very interesting experience. The building is very secured and we did have some struggle to make an entry due to a locked door failing to open upon the swipe of our cards. But after the meeting, presentation and lunch together, a Secret Service (SS) deaf employees gave me a tour of the museum inside which is very nice. Another deaf employee at SS said that she'll give me a tour to the entire building, especially the Counterfeit section where they do have a lab and people investigating on fake money. I'm so looking forward to it!
I also met this woman, Tanya, who is the first person I got in touch with from Homeland Security regarding my internship. She actually came to my presentation and watched me; and I didn't realize that she came just to watch me and wanted to talk to me. After the meeting, she came up to me and said that she have been so happy and proud for me. She then said that she want to take me to a tour across all components within Homeland Security, including ICE, CBP, Coast Guard, USCIS, Secret Service, and so forth along with a luncheon together. I'm thrilled!
So many deaf people outside there in the United States doesn't realize that there are many deaf employees working for the Federal Government across the country, mostly here in D.C. There are at least 7 deaf employees at IRS, at least 5 deaf employees at Secret Service, more than 10 at Department of Homeland Security, and several over there at Department of Defense. I know one from Human & Health Services, one from Department of Education, and two from Dept. of Transportation. It has been an eye-opener for me while I was networking with these people, and they has taught me a lot and gave me great advices. I'm lovin' my life here in D.C.!
Never underestimate yourself and your future.