Lighthouse for the Blind; and Incredible Lifetime Experience.
For me, yesterday was an extremely special day. It was as ordinary day, I had to go to a few classes, eat lunch at my friends place. Then around 4 or 5, I was pretty bored. The phone rang and my maid picked it up. She then asked me and Em my brother if we would like to go to a school of disabled blind children and help them. I hesitated. My mum was on the phone and she really wanted me to go. Then I said okay, because first I thought it was a boring idea.
I went with Peter and his sister Pin, and their driver picked me and Em up. We also went with Peter’s Mother. When we arrived, I first saw a girl who’s eyes was unusually swollen, and her eyes were aimlessly there. I realized she was blind, and to think that there are around hundreds more of these people, and simply heart breaking. People always say to me: you see how lucky you are, perfect. No diseases, problem. I always thought yeah…whatever. But after I saw those blinded people, I directly knew what they meant. Peter’s mother said we were here to help children to their work but we had to talk to the principal first. We had a pretty long talk. In conclusion, she said that now there aren’t any particular classes we could help. But we can help some children that need help who have finished school already. Another way we could help was to record a short story, and also make an organized book with big text, for low-vision to read. Low vision is being kind of blind, but you can still see a tiny bit. That idea was great and we were willing to do it, but we had to do it at home (I’ll go back to that later).
Once we went outside to the school, I realized it was more of a second home than a school. It’s a place for kids from other schools or some kids who learn there who come to do their homework, eat dinner, and then some go back home while other stay there overnight.
For the disabled people, they need major help from people who come and visit. Then the Principal said Hi to a low-visioned girl, and the principal said that she will need some help and guidance with her homework. Her name was Tang-mo, which meant watermelon in Thai. Then after we introduced ourselves, Tang-mo told me a bit about herself. She learns at Samsem Wittiyalai school, and she comes here to do her homework, eat dinner then go home. She said that this place is called the Lighthouse for the Blind.
She then told me that her homework is her English report. She is working on a presentation for an English teacher on Popular Thai food. She is working in a group, and her job is to find out the context which is 3 popular types of Thai food, with the images or them and the recipe of each dish. This piece of work needed to be done in the computer lab. When we got settled in the lab, so told me what to do. She says that she can do a bit of this herself, but she strongly struggles. Firstly, we were working on Tom Yum Kung. I got the image of it, and the recipe. Then it had to be pasted in a Word document. All was done in a flash. For the recipe, I explained to her about the ingredients and how to make it, so she can understand. I did the same for 2 more of the dishes which were Pad Thai and Gang Keaw Waan. When I was doing all of this, I was automatically slow, patient and really not rushing. It’s like the switch of Agility turned on. We spent around 2 and a half hours together. Doing the work, chatting about her life, and going across the side of the school to get some pieces of paper. This experience was so special. I’ve never seen the world this way before. Its so fascinating how their attitude is, respectful, kind. But yet its so sad for them, not to be able to see the blue sky clearly, to gentle waves that wash across the shore in the beach and the moon that shines so bright. I can’t imagine not being able to see.
The most special moment for me yesterday was when me and Tang-mo walked to the supply room to get special hard paper to print the cover for her report. Firstly, she couldn’t see where the door handle was. I was so used to having the door opened, and now it’s the opposite. When we gradually got out to the floor with patterned bricks; I didn’t get to walk alone and swing my arms around freely. She held my hand, slowly touching my fingers. We walked along the aisle, and it was just to touching. He treated me like a best friend, even if we knew each other for an hour or two. She treated me like I was her everything. I felt so…special.
When we got the paper, we went back and again, I held her hand, opened the door.
Em and Peter’s job was to mark the English work for the students. They were a great help. Pin helped me, by doing things on the computer, because I had to communicate a lot with Tang-mo. Time flew by, and it was time to say goodbye. It was to heart-throbbing for me to say goodbye to Tang-mo, and this wonderful place. Like I had to step out of soft fluffy carpet onto a ring of fire. I said, I hope I helped you a lot, and I hope the teacher says your report will be the best. “thanks so much, you were such a big help. Bye!” Tang-mo said still so full or enthusiasm. “Your Welcome. Bye! I’ll visit again as soon as possible!” I said, still with my heart crying. “Don’t forget to say Hi” Tang-mo exclaimed. Before I could say anything she gave me a big hug, and I wanted to cry as if we would never see each other again. We said our final goodbyes, and I felt like I tear would run down my face but I stayed strong. As the car drove further and further away from the Lighthouse for the Blind, I said in my mind “I am so incredibly lucky”.