Some Barbadians were today exposed to the life of darkness experienced by the country’s blind community as part of World Sight Day activities.
The Bridgetown Lions Club in partnership with the Carlton A-One supermarket and the National United Society for the Blind, came together to stress how much vision counts.
Second Vice-President of the Bridgetown Lions Club Stephen Howell, said under the Dialogue in the Dark project, shoppers at the Black Rock, St Michael supermarket were enlightened about some of the difficulties blind persons encounter.
Dialogue in the Dark is regarded as a life-changing experience where participants are guided by blind guides in absolute darkness and can experience the life of persons living in total blindness.
“We are educating the public about the importance of sight, to increase awareness of the blind and vision- impaired in the community as well as the challenges they encounter daily.
“With Dialogue in the Dark, you will be putting yourself in the place of a blind person. You are putting yourself in the dark to do things,” Mr. Howell said.
Meanwhile, Vice-President of the National United Society of the Blind, Roger Vaughan reiterated the need for Barbadians to be made of aware of the lifestyle a vision-impaired person.
“It is an on-going programme . . . but we try to work with all organizations and agencies in Barbados to make persons aware of how vision impaired persons live and the challenges that we have,” he pointed out.
Shoppers participating in Dialogue in the Dark were blind folded and guided to select several grocery items to make a meal. Among the first participants was Marketing Manager of A-One Supermarkets Reva Graham.
Graham shared her experience and admitted that Barbadians took their sight for granted.
“It was definitely an eye opener. We take our vision for granted and having it compromised puts things into perspective. You are required to pull on your other senses so much more. It was definitely a challenge; you have to feel the product and smell it to gauge what it was.
“I can only imagine what it must be like. Although the space wasn’t physically smaller, from the time that blind fold went on, it felt as though I was boxed in. It changes your view and provides you with greater appreciation for the sense of vision.”