My sister, who is also visually impaired, told me a funny story about how presuming, rather than seeing, led to a sticky situation.
On a hot summer, sleep-with-the-windows-open night she was climbing into bed when she remembered that she had not put mosquito repellent on herself or the kids. She picked up the stick of repellent, pulled off the lid and put a large stripe of wax on her forehead and then a long stripe up each arm and leg. As she was quickly heading for the children’s room, she notice that it felt a bit funny and did not smell at all like citronella. She turned the light on and had a closer look – it was glue stick.
(Same colour tube and same colour lid!) You have to laugh!
I was waiting outside the bank for my lift to fetch me and was using my symbol cane because I was alone. The security guard came up to me and said, “No hawker’s ma’am”. I was initially upset, but then realised that in his experience all people with white canes are beggars. I couldn’t blame him.
In my view (ha ha), the only down side of using an assistive device like a white cane (or wheel chair) immediately marks you as not ‘normal’ and often sparks off an “Ag shame, she struggles” perception, especially in people who really don’t know me. I understand that people don’t know how to respond and so it is easier for them to stand off or avoid you. I enjoy starting up conversations or asking kindly for help so that they can see that I am just a ‘normal gewone’ person who can’t see well……..and that it is not contagious!!
I suppose that is where it is up to the ‘differently-abled’ person to change public perceptions of disability. Go ama kroka kroka (crocs – for the non South Africans)
Go ama kroka kroka (crocs – for the non South Africans)