From the moment I met Toska, I immediately knew we were going to be quick friends. She is just one of those people that you can’t help but love to be around. Besides the fact that she is an incredibly charismatic and positive person who can brighten up any room with her contagious smile, she is also very passionate and puts her whole heart into whatever it is she sets out to do. Right now, her goal is to help give deaf children in Guatemala a good education. Working with one of the only schools in Guatemala for deaf students (LAVOSI), Toska has made it her mission to help the school generate money to allow the children to continue to go to school. At Uxibal, we love a good cause, so when Toska approached us about getting involved, we jumped at the chance! This weekend (March 4-6) we will be donating 10% of all of our sales (both online and in-store) directly to LAVOSI. Our only condition was that she agree to do an interview with us and she agreed!
What’s your full name & hometown?
Toska Broadway. Originally from Ohio, now living in Washington D.C.
What is your current occupation?
I’m currently a student working on my M.A. degree in International Development at Gallaudet University.
So you’re a full-time student, what do you do when you’re not going to school or studying?
It seems as if I’m always studying! But, I also work part-time as an interpreter for the deaf. When I have breaks from school, I also enjoy going home to Ohio and visiting my family and friends, travelling and hanging out with my son.
How did you end up living in Guatemala?
I ended up moving to Guatemala for a 2 1/2 month internship I’m doing at a deaf school here called LAVOSI. LAVOSI stands for “Las Voces del Silencio”, in English, “The Voices of the Silent.”
Is this your first time living outside of the US?
Actually no, this is not my first time living outside of the U.S. I lived in Argentina for 2.5 months back in 2012. I shadowed a Sign Language Interpreter and deaf activist and also learned how to sign in Argentine Sign Language. I learned about the role of the interpreter and got to visit a lot of different deaf organizations in Buenos Aires where I was living, as well as San Juan, Mar del Plata and Mendoza.
What is the most surprising thing about living abroad?
The most surprising thing is probably the easy experience I’ve had meeting people. I am in awe of how many kind and lovely people I’ve met. And how comfortable and at home I feel living here in Antigua after so little time.
Really? We’re not surprised by that at all!
Tell us more about LAVOSI?
It’s a school for deaf children in Guatemala. It was founded by Alvaro De Leon a Guatemalan man who is also deaf himself. He is committed to improving the lives of deaf people in Guatemala and that is why he started LAVOSI in the first place. There are few resources, services, trained educators and organizations devoted to the education of these beautiful minds and it is amazing at how much they have achieved with so little funds and that’s why I’m here to help them more.
How is your internship helping the school?
I’m really just trying to get people to know about LAVOSI. Part of my role is to partner with businesses, organizations and individuals that will offer funding opportunities and support LAVOSI’s education and programming and help them reach more students.
What can we do to help?
Well, you can shop! Uxibal, is kicking off the first fundraiser for LAVOSI to help raise awareness and money for the school. On March 4, 5, and 6th, Uxibal will donate 10% of sales, both online and in store to our school. That money will be donated to the children of LAVOSI and assist them with their school fees and supplies.