Mr. Kohei Hakamada, 62, is traveling around the world on a motorcycle with the theme: “Around the World Deaf Japan.” He arrived in Monrovia on Sunday, January 29, 2012, after visiting 48 other countries that have national associations for deaf persons.
He is expected to leave Liberia on next Monday for neighboring Sierra Leone.
According to his traveling schedule, from Sierra Leone, the Japanese will travel to the Republic of Guinea and other countries. He is due back in his country in May, 2014.
Mr. Hakamada spoke with the Daily Observer through a Liberian sign language interpreter. Mr. Joshua C.V. Birr of the Liberia National Association of the Deaf told the Observer that Mr. Hakamada’s mission is to visit all deaf associations worldwide. The aim is to acquaint himself with problems affecting these deaf persons globally, Hakamada said through his Liberian interpreter.
While in the country, Mr. Hakamada is expected to hold audience with the various leaders in charge of the deaf associations. He will be focusing mainly on challenges facing deaf persons when it comes to access education in Liberia.
According to Mr. Birr, the Japanese will be accompanied by a deaf Liberian youth leader, Abu Tani Konateh, to the various destinations in keeping with the guest's itineraries.
“Mr. Konateh will lead the visitor to the various deaf organizations and schools,” the interpreter said.
Mr. Hakamanda started traveling around the world since June 2010 on his motorbike. The tank of Hakamada's bike takes 17 gallons of gas at a time.
“From Japan, through the other 47 countries and now Liberia, I have covered 60, 000km and my bike has consumed so many gallons of gas,” Mr. Hakamada is quoted by his tour guide as saying.
His trip is interestingly being funded by the World Federation of Deaf, through Japan, to which he is grateful.Meanwhile, Mr. Hakamada has appealed to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to make the provision of financial support to the various deaf organizations and schools in Liberia a key priority.