A fascinating article by Aubrey Belford for the Global Mail website has revealed the story of Bali’s equivalent of Martha’s Vineyard - the village of Bengkala where most of the 2700 residents are fluent in Kata Kolok, a “language of the deaf.”
Deafness has been present in the village for eight generations, with each of the village’s twelve clans (or families) having a deaf member. Forty four villagers in total are deaf.
While in other parts of Bali, deaf people are often left out, in Bengkala they are given a special role in religious life.
The article is called Bali’s Village of the Deaf – I recommend you read it – and it also features a fantastic series of photos showing the different signs the villagers use (also embedded below).
By Charlie Swinbourne, Editor