Patrick Otema Discovers Sign Language in Uganda

Patrick Otema is a deaf boy from a distant region of Uganda who until the age of 15 had not had the opportunity to learn Sign Language, so he communicated only through some very basic gestures with his father. The only thing that did him smile was learning Sign Language.

Patrick Otema (photo: Channel 4)
Channel 4's Unreported World contacted Raymond Okkelo, a Sign Language teacher at Uganda's National Association of the Deaf, dedicated to helping deaf people in sub-Saharan Africa and their families communicate. In the video you can see how Patrick at first stays serious and distant from everything that happens around him, ending in a complete transformation when for the first time he is taken to a school with Raymond where everyone uses Sign Language. The reporter says the following about this transformation:
Patrick’s transformation is amazing. It’s almost impossible to believe it’s the same boy we met yesterday
An exciting video that has reached millions of views counting the many versions that are available on YouTube:


What Happened After That?

Ten weeks later, Patrick seems like a totally different person. Channel 4 re-recorded him and Patrick speaks Sign Language directly to the camera (optional English subtitles):


The full documentary can be seen here (video not subtitled):




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