*This is a revision of an older posting
Have you ever wonder what life would be like if it is in complete darkness? I have, so I decided to participate in “dialogue in the dark”. The experience made me realized the difficulties our visually impaired friends faced everyday and how brave and tough they are. To quickly summarize what “dialogue in the dark is”, it is an experience where you are immersed in complete darkness and you need to rely on your other senses to guide you. A visually impaired guide would lead you through a series of daily activities that visually sighted people find perfectly easy to do; however, are you able to do them without your sight?
During the 90 minutes workshop, the eight of us were given a walking cane as we submerged into complete darkness. The voice of our guide, the walking cane, and our hands would guide us through a series of activities. I never realized how hard walking onto a public bus, or finding a seat and sitting down on the bus would be. Also, imagine walking into a movie theatre and roaming around for an empty seat, my sense of direction was completely gone! Not only was I unable to find a seat, but when I finally felt the hard bench with my hand, the seat was taken! Another part of the activity was when we were at a restaurant and we wanted to order something to eat and drink. It was hard counting the money and confirming the change we received was accurate, but you would never imagine what the most difficult part was! It was so difficult poking the straw into the juice box, and when my friend offered me half of her Oreo, it took awhile before I could locate her hand and the cookie. Clearly, my other senses are not brilliant, I was dumb enough to put the cookie into my mouth before asking if tit has expired. It was really challenging without my vision, and I was in a safe and protected environment with no stairs and lots of walls to “centre” myself. Imagine what it would be like on the streets. Everywhere, people would be pushing and shouting while the traffic is buzzing all around, just the thought is so frightening! I kudos our guide Eunice, who only have good things to say about living in the city. Aside from the obvious fact that visually impaired people could not see, they are exactly the same as you and I. The notable difference I observed is that they are actually braver than you and I because they are not afraid of the dark.
This workshop has opened my eyes to many new things, and I highly recommend it to everyone. “Dialogue in the dark” allows me to interact and learn from people in the community I might not come across everyday. In darkness, we are all the same, and during the workshop, it was the blind leading the blind. When my sight was gone, I started relying on my other senses. Most importantly, I started asking more questions and trusting people with what they tell me. With sight, you judge with what you see, without sight, you trust.