Sunday, 22 July 2018

“We are only as blind as we want to be” – Maya Angelou

By Gabriela Moreno Roa (8th semester FIGRI student, Interculturality elective)

When I turned 15, my uncles and my grandma invited me to Cancun, Mexico. It was a big surprise for me, as I thought I wasn’t going to do anything for my birthday, and besides that, I got the chance to travel with both of my favorite cousins in the world: Maquita and Daniela. Although it was amazing, and it would be nice to talk about the incredible things I did there, this piece is not quite about that.

One sunny day, we were at the pool of the hotel when we saw this girl about our age joking with her mom. There was something particular about her that made me stare at her. She had a special face, but I couldn’t tell why, so I tried not to be too obvious. The day continued normally, until the hotel entertainers made an announcement: “it’s time for the dancing contest”, one of them said.  

The next thing that happened was that this particular girl stood up and went to the dance floor, but whenever she tried to get out of the pool she needed the help of her mom and the entertainer. That was when I understood that she was a blind girl. Her name is Macarena Dealesandro, she lives in Argentina with her mom, dad and dog, she has a big sister named Pamela and apparently, they love each other a lot.

Macu became our friend after that, as my cousins and I also went to the dancing contest, where of course we all felt embarrassed, yet we had a great time. At this point of the story, I want to say I felt bad for Macu because of her condition. She once told us she dreamed of taking her bicycle and riding it through all her neighborhood, not telling anyone and not needing anyone’s help, so I felt awful as I understood there were little details of life that maybe she wouldn’t be able to experience.

That night, we were having dinner with my family and next to our table were Macu’s mom and dad. They asked us in a very polite way if we could spend some time after dinner with Macu, as they wanted some time alone to have a romantic evening (after Macu’s birth there had been few occasions where they had time for themselves and the relationship). My uncles and my grandma agreed, so we spent some time in Macu’s room.

Well, the sleepover started and our friend began to talk about how she got a new computer from her family: a special one for blind people. The computer talked to her, so she could give it instructions about what she wanted to do. The interesting thing about it, besides the fact that none of us had a computer that talked to us, was when she showed us a video where she got to sing with this incredible Argentine singer named Soledad Pastorutti in one of her concerts!

Even though I’m not blind, I haven’t had the chance to sing with my favorite singer, so it was amazing that Macu could! It was like a big bucket of cold water for me at that moment. I didn’t feel bad any more for Macu; I figured out that despite being blind, that didn’t stop her from achieving her dreams. It was shocking for me to see that blind people have a wide range of possibilities and that their destiny is not only to be at home and be cared for by everyone. That’s why they say, “We are only as blind as we want to be”.

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