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Why should I go to WFD?

Okay, can someone give me a good reason why I should go to WFD in Madrid? The ticket is expensive, and I don't even know the programme. I'm not particularly jumping at Deaf issues right now, so why should I go?

Don't get me wrong, I went to WFD in Montreal in 2003, and I got a real buzz from it. (Incidentally, I've never received any subsequent notes for it, why? I even wrote and asked, no reply). When I got back to the UK, I told my friends I was going to set up an building society account for them and I, we were going to put x amount away each month with the view of saving up for 2007. Just to avoid the financial slap across the face. A bit like a Christmas club. Only it didn't happen.

Since then I feel flat and disillusioned. Partially to do with: politics, my own experience over the past 4 years, and the fact that deaf organisations in the UK make my stomach churn and I'm burnt out. There's other crap too.

I know there's lots I could be doing, e.g. I've written a BSL recognition website, but I can't progress with it anymore because I feel indifferent. A few years ago, I would not have had problems with motivation around that, and its still there, only reaching out for it. However, I don't buzz on this like I used to. Use WFD as a springboard, or will I feel the same? Yes I get the network, and perhaps a recharge but I'm so disillusioned right now.

Towards the end of last year I brought WFD membership (around November) which cost me $50 USD, and another £8 sterling in administrative charges. Why doesn't WFD accept Paypal, and why does it assume everyone a) lives in the USA, and b) has Visa? I even brought some travel guides and I was going to plan!

I had WFD membership for 2 months, with any other organisation purchasing membership so late, this would be carried over into the next year. However, it doesn't, and I just paid for 2 months. WFD doesn't have a magazine at the moment, and what I had for $50 + £8 was one e mail newsletter, which I had forwarded to me anyway by someone else. I didn't receive this direct from WFD anyway, because they got my e mail address wrong, and had some letter or other later. So what was the point?

Moving back to congress. WFD put up its early bird registrations last year, and subsequently lowered registrations for those people living in Spain. I even wonder with all EU regulations, is this legal. Whatever. The point is its expensive. Then there's the transport to get there. The accommodation. And the fact I need to fork out this membership again, pay for a ticket and I've not seen the programme yet, not even sure why.

So should I go to WFD or not?

Comments (3)

I heard that some KEY presenters turned down and won't present at WFD. So the workshops/seminars will be so/so, I believe. However, Spain is FAMOUS for festive parties. So much to see and explore around Madrid and Barcelona. Above all else, you always learn something new each time you travel abroad. I'd probably save the moolah for Taipei in 2010. That's my plan. :-) Good luck!

WFD is an excellent opportunity to meet other Deaf leaders from different parts of the country. You will be exposed to different sign languages and cultures. WFD is an international event which focuses on human rights, rights to education, and issues from different countries facing different challenges. WFD is worth going in my opinion.

For years I've wanted to go to WFD. I am not seeing much description of the programme, so it has been hard to determine whether to buy single day tickets or but the whole event which is a huge chunk of money - and take a gamble that it will be a wonderful experience. My wife has never been to Europe so we will stay in Europe for six more weeks after WFD. It has been over 20 years since I last came to Europe. We even hope to visit some of the folk's hometown that we may meet at the Conference.

We are certainly looking forward to meeting foreign and local (Spaniards) Deaf nationals and refresh our international communication skills. I take particular thrill in conversing with Deaf foreigners. We are also looking forward to meeting Deaf locals at their local clubs and visiting some Deaf schools and programs.

I hope some of the programme will focus on the sorry state of interpreters - (yes even in America we have to deal with unqualified interpreters) and the emerging excitement of Deafhood (Paddy Ladd - Are you presenting something about Deafhood? We thirst for more!) and its empowerment to Deaf people.

I have heard some people that have attended past WFD that the Opening Ceremony is well worthwhile (of course it depends on the committee presenting the program). Yes - I agree it is expensive - and its expensive to put on an event of that size. I hope the WFD conference planners will release fully detailed programme on the Internet and it may help to boost interest. On the other hand it may be too late to purchase a reasonable airfare - as they have been steadily increasing closer to summer.

If anyone out there has interesting European / International websites with vlog about Deaf people, Deaf Clubs, Deaf sports, Deaf schools, and Deaf events please forward them to me so I can learn as much as possible in advance of our European adventure.

We await our adventure with open mind and open heart!
Mark

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