When Marino met Yuneiris
At the church in Ocujal De Yaterita, I also met Rosalia’s (from the previous story) deaf niece, Yuneiris. She has an interesting story that I could relate to. She is married to a hearing man- Marino and together they have a daughter who can hear, named Noemi. Being in a Deaf/Hearing marriage myself, and knowing that good marriages of this combination statistically does not fare as well... when I see another good Deaf/Hearing marriage, I take notice.
When Marino first met Yuneiris at an gathering at her grandmother’s, he was smitten. He didn’t know how to communicate with her… but he fell so hard for her that he had to do something! He approached the interpreter who knew Yuneiris all her life and begged her to teach him sign language so he could play Romeo to her... Being protective of Yuneiris, the interpreter friend soon learned that Marino is a good man, deserved her blessing, and proceeded to teach him signs.
As the story goes, Yuneiris was skeptical and played hard to get. Marino would not give up and continued improving in his sign language. They soon realized that they were such a good match together and fell in love, got married and have a young daughter. I observed their relationship and was glad to see that there was a mutual connection between the two of them based on love. Marino treats her very well and the family dynamics are akin to other loving families we see in other places. They appeared to communicate very well with each other in Cuban Sign Language and their communication revealed their closeness with each other. Another success story!
Marino is a Computer Teacher at the local school, while Yuneiris is a housewife. She used to create flower bouquets out of plastic flower materials and sold them in the local community. When available supplies ran out, she resorted to making simple crafts with recycled materials found locally. Because her community is so small and isolated from other larger towns (45 minutes south of Guantanámo) the market to sell additional crafts has dried up as the people who are interested in them have already purchased these items.
Side note- we had a discussion with Kaita, the Deaf Ministry leader in Guantanamo, who traveled with us. She wants to look into the possibility of bringing Yuneiris's crafts to sell in Guantanamo so she can continue helping her family financially. We'll see if that works.
Back to the family... being an agricultural community, Yuneiris now grows flower gardens on their property. As I was taking pictures of the family, the daughter, Noemi commented that she only has pictures of her with either her mom or her dad, not together as a family. Ah, I got the hint and took a family portrait and will have it printed up on photo paper- not plain paper that their other pictures are printed on- and framed as a gift to Noemi when I return to Ocujal De Yaterita in September.