WHAT 100 BLIND KIDS TAUGHT ME ABOUT LIFE
I was invited in 2015 to speak in a medical outreach, by a body of medical students who were visiting with a school of the blind. That outreach have gone on to becoming one of the most memorable experiences of my entire life.
We were two speakers on the invite list-both preachers. Maybe it was because of my manner of communication, because though as a young preacher, many persons considered my teachings rather practical and inspirational. The other speaker was to tell our audience-a sitting of about 100+ blind pupils-about the love of God.
When I received the invite, it wasn’t to preach the “gospel,” I was to teach the blind kids to “Dream Big!”
I had spoken to a vast category of people up until this time, but never had I been faced with a task of this unique magnitude, an audience of this special kind. But, it was just to “Dream Big!” Right? That shouldn’t be tasking I thought.
So, as the day of our visit was getting closer, my RAS was tuned, I was absorbing all the ideas that flashed through my mind each passing day in preparing my presentation.
About two days to the event, I had decided it was time to put my ideas together and to also check a couple of things up in the internet.
I had culled a lot of ideas from my experience in my junior days in FGC, Enugu, Nigeria. I was a volunteer, assisting one of the blind students who was just a class ahead of mine. I walked the entire college with him and did virtually any task he couldn’t do himself or alone. He taught me a lot, but, what I didn’t learn in all my years of staying with and assisting him was the fact that the blind do not dream. At least, not the way we all do.
My research led me to discover that people born blind dreamt in “voices,” they do not dream in “images.” They are blind to “sight” awake and blind to “sight” while asleep. They only dream “voices” and occasionally dreamt “smells.” They are able to associate these “voices” and “smells” to the concepts of person, place, object and time.
I also learnt that those who became blind after some years of cognitive awareness are limited to the images they registered in their minds at the last age they had sight. For instance, they will forever see their mothers as a young woman whenever their mums appeared in their dreams (though with changing voice pattern with each passing period of life.) In addition to this, they also dreamt voices and smells and associated them with persons, places, objects and time.
With all these on my desk, my previously gathered and absorbed information were nearly pointless for use… So, I had to come about an entirely different inspiring and yet “practical” teaching for my audience.
Two days later it happened, I delivered the most remarkable teaching I have ever delivered in my entire life. The children cheered, some smiled, laughed and even screamed. They were inspired. But that was not the bubble or what made it the day I will forever remember, because far from what I had done for them, I was deeply grateful for what they had done for me. They had left me with a key more precious than a university education-that we could all still dream big and be anything we wanted to become, regardless of any limitations.
That day, I came to a conclusion that the only thing worse than being blind is having sight but lacking vision, having sight but being unable to dream-and to dream big.
© OTUBO VICTOR OGEMDI