Monday, 24 November 2014

Dialogue in the dark

In the early morning, I open my eyes and turn off the annoying yet faithful alarm. The room is dark so logically I can barely see the surrounding.
“Of course”, I can see the surrounding by the time I turn on the light and put on my spectacles.
This is my daily routine and
I thought the ability to see would be a routine too.
I took my eyesight for granted for 22 years long, I did not appreciate it as much as I can, until the day I went to Dialogue In the Dark.

I was lucky enough to be able to go for Cuti-Cuti Malaysia in the dark as this was the practical session for neuroscience course!  How great if all my practical sessions can be this interesting. 

“The only way to learn is through encounter.”

“Nothing to see but much to experience.”

These are some quotes at the entrance of dark experience center.
We were given a guiding stick and were asked to take off spectacles and anything that can give out light.
We were nervous yet excited to begin the journey. To play safe, we lined up and hold shoulder of the person in front of us. We were introduced to our tour guide of the day in the dark. She is half blind.

The journey began.
I could not see anything. Nothing.  We could only feel secured by talking to each other and holding each other tightly in the total darkness.
Hearing and sense of touch played the super vital role that time!

“Hey, are you still there?”, “Here! Here! Give me your hand!”, “Where? Where?”, “Touch this!”
These are the sentences we used the most in the dark experience center. :D  

I felt the coldness at Taman Negara Kinabalu, touched tree branches, walked on shaking hanging bridge, heard the sound of noisy monkey.

I touched ATM machine, cabbages, canned foods and magazine at central market.

I had to guess the plate number and brand of motorcycle and car by just touching it. (It was difficult! ><)

I bought lunch set at the café and appreciated it in the darkness. (It was really troublesome to find exact amount of money in dark without the skill of feeling it.)

My tour guide could actually move around freely while we all were puzzled to figure out the right way to go. She could locate us based solely on our sounds. How amazing is that. 

She was not blind when she was young. Many of the blind people she knows are not born blind. Contact lens infection, intoxication, cataract, glaucoma and injuries caused teacher, dentist, and people she knows to become blind. These are not dramas, these are real stories.

How did I feel inside the dark experience room?
Scared, helpless, I need to fully utilize my sense of touch and hearing and I need you, my friends.

Being able to see is such a fortunate thing. It is not that I did not realize it before but I have never imagined how difficult the life without vision is. I experienced it that day and that would not be an easy life to lead.

The drawing I did when I was blindfolded.
(What did I draw?!)

Some specially designed spectacles for us to experience what half blind or blind people see.

Appreciate your eyesight. Appreciate the hardwork of visually impaired community. They are trying their best to support themselves by working at Dialogue in the Dark. 

Dear tour guide, continue to inspire your tourists with your cheerful and positive mindset. :) Do visit them at The School, Jaya One! :)

100-P1-001, THE SCHOOL,
Block J, Jaya ONE,
No 72A,  Jalan Universiti,
46200 Petaling Jaya,

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