I prefer her to be sighted, but that is between us


In a previous post, I shared some thoughts about the challenges that a blind woman sometimes encounters when it comes to love and marriage. I got a comment from a blind girl friend that had unsuccessful experience and liked to share her thoughts. I decided to let her do that through this post as blind women face double discrimination not only from sighted men, but from blind men as well. Let us see what she would like to say:

“If blind males are somewhat established and successful in life, they think that getting married to a blind woman is a downgrading for them. They want to look normal, act normal, viewed as normal. That is why some of them think that walking down a street with a blind wife would not embarrassing, asking for help down a street every now and then would not be normal. Some blind men want to maintain their manhood which may not be full except by marrying a sighted woman.

For only the sake of marrying a sighted woman, they sacrifice sometimes other qualities; no matter if she is not educated, it makes no difference that she’s from a different cultural and social background; it is not very important to have common things or understanding between them; the most important thing is to be sighted!

The problem gets worse when there is a love story between a blind man and a blind woman, when he leaves her to run after a sighted girl, as if all the feelings and love between them do not really count. Some of them would put the blame on their families, saying that they are the ones who do not accept for their blind son to marry a blind woman; I tell them where your role as a man is.

Aren’t you supposed to bear the responsibility of completing the path that you two started together? I tell them how come you are a man and you let someone else control your life? I tell them where is the love that you are speaking about, doesn’t love means commitment?”

My friend’s words end at this point. I can get the bitter feelings that you are experiencing, I can feel the pain you are suffering from dear, I wish if I can do anything to calm you down. I don’t have so much to add here but one of the ridiculous things when a family of a blind guy doesn’t accept a blind woman. It doesn’t make sense to me. It is even weirder to me when a family has a blind son and a blind daughter, and they may accept a blind man for their blind daughter but they don’t accept the opposite.

Yeah, I know that some blind men want their wives to be their servant, house keeper, driver, and their personal assistant. What a deal when you get all in one! You can’t get everything dear man, please set your priorities before making any decisions.

Matching clothes


As we live in a sighted world, appearances and fashion counts. Being blind or visually impaired doesn’t mean you wear unmatched clothes or weird colors that can’t go together. Lack of eye sight should not prevent you from applying new techniques to achieve this purpose. I often get compliments about how I dress well and match my clothes nicely.
In order to match your clothes, you should be familiar with the basics of matching colors. Even if you can’t see completely, you should know which goes with which. It is always good idea to match bright with dark colors. For example, it is so common to match brown with beige, or blue with aqua. Black color goes with everything. You can wear jeans with all colors too.
In developed countries, agencies and centers for the blind provide systematic instructional programs aiming at teaching the blind how to label and match their clothes.
On the contrary, in developing countries, people with visual impairment rely mostly on intuitions and bits of information they acquire from dedicated sighted people around them. So how do blind people match their clothes?

Some blind people use – devices to detect and identify colors.
These devices range in features and costs.
You can find a review of some of these devices at
www.afb.org
I am not sure how accurate those colors identifiers are especially when you have different colors in one piece of clothes.
In addition to this, other blind people use low-cost or no-cost methods to differentiate their clothes.
Some visually impaired differentiate their clothes by style or texture; however, others use color labels and they attach them to their clothes, they are usually removable and they are not affected by the washing-machines.
Some people like to use safety pins to label and identify things like their socks to avoid confusing them. Beads are sometimes used for clothes identification, for instance, every clothes that have two beads match in colors.
Those are some common techniques used for clothes matching and color identification, you can come up with your technique too as blind people are usually creative when it comes to their ways of adaptation.

The kitchen: no, so scary!

Dealing with the kitchen is not as challenging or dangerous as it seems to be for some people. I feel very sad when I know that a blind person is scared to use the stove to cook, or to use the knife to make some salad. For me, this is not acceptable and unjustifiable especially if we need to be independent and live our lives as anybody else does. Don’t take me wrong thinking that this post is for females, it is not the intention at all. Every single blind person should be acquainted with the kitchen, at least he / she should be familiar with the basics.
Some blind individuals are scared to use the stove, they think it is dangerous. It may be dangerous if you are not careful enough and you are not sure about your safety, however, if you take it step by step, you will be fine.

How can you overcome this scary feeling?
First, you should know that nobody will serve you, if you have somebody now to do the job for you, that person may not be available at a certain time. Some of them say to me, no problem we can deliver. Aha, you can do this if you really have enough money for 3 meals a day, 90 meals a month, 1080 meal per year. This is in case you don’t have any dependent that needs to eat too. I think it is crazy to deliver all the time like this.
You also sometimes want to eat something that is not being delivered in your area, or if you live overseas and you miss your home food.
In addition, other people already do it and they are still a live; so why not you!
Many blind individuals cook very well. They also can give you nice techniques about handling different issues of cooking, or organizing their kitchen.
I still think that this is the responsibility of the family to teach their blind children to deal with the kitchen. Even if your child is blind, he / she shouldn’t be pampered and become lazy and dependent!

When you lose a dear one

Today, I got this bad news that a very close blind friend of mine lost her mother. It was really terrible news. The mother was sick for more than 8 months. When I heard this news, I recalled every single moment I went through when I lost my father last December. My friend was the best one to alleviate my pain, and provide a great support to heal my wounds.

Days ago, I was talking to another blind friend who lost her mother last year, she was sad because her father is not as helpful and caring as her mom used to be. We ended up crying for losing our dear loved ones. Those sad moments are repetitive in our lives.

Our dear ones, particularly parents, play vital role in the life of a blind person. All successful blind have a story to tell you about their relationship withtheir mother or father. parents are sometimes the eyes which blind people use to see through, they are their window to the world. I was blessed by having a great parents who encouraged me all the time to be something. If I achieved anything in my life, all gratitude will be for my parents.

I don’t know what to say. May God bless our parents whether they passed away or they are still with us. That’s another reason why parents should teach their blind children to be as independent as they can. so at least they can be a bit prepared to such moment and their pain won’t become doubled because of losing you , and because they were so dependent on you.

Talking devices

Independence is the dream of any person with a visual impairment. We all want to feel the joy of being able to control our lives with the least assistance possible. It is amazing how technology served to achieve this purpose. So what are talking devices?

Talking devices are small adaptive technological devices that help blind and visually impaired in their daily life activities. Those devices are mostly normal devices like thermometers, blood pressure monitors, clocks, watches, scales, and many others; however they are adapted to the usage of blind users by installing talking software with them.

The talking devices added a great deal to the independence of all users with visual impairments in various fields of life. For instance, talking thermometers and blood pressure monitors decreased the health risks that anyone with visual impairment would face if they don’t use those devices. They also enabled blind users to take care of other family members independently.
I know a friend of mine who is blind single mother who has child girl; she used the talking thermometer almost every day when her daughter was a baby to monitor her temperature.

Moreover, talking clocks, watches, and timers helped blind and visually impaired to measure the time accurately and independently. A talking timer for instance is very helpful in cooking. It can be set to ring after any number of minutes; it is also equipped with a clock and an alarm…

It comes with a magnetic stick to be attached to the fridge for easy usage.

Talking kitchen and bathroom scales is another technological gadget that is very helpful for blind users. It enables them to measure luggage or food accurately and independently. However one of the set-backs of these technological devices is that they are expensive for anyone who doesn’t live in developed countries. The difference in currency and exchange rates make it difficult for blind users in developing countries to purchase such items. Moreover, because the blind community is not that large, and these goods are subject to the law of the market, demand is not high so the prices are also high.
I think the solution to this problem is either the developing countries have to attempt to find ways to locally manufacture those items, or these items may be purchased by associations to help blind and visually impaired use them for the sake of their safety and efficiency.

Aren’t we eve’s daughters too?

I was asked this question by one of the most decent, sensitive, well-educated blind female friends I ever knew. She asked me this question wondering why it is so difficult issue for a blind girl to be loved or to get married. Why is she neglected by everybody whether sighted or even blind men? I don’t have a specific answer to you my dear although I can understand your point very well. Unfortunately this is the truth that blind women are less fortunate when it comes to love and marriage whether this partner is either sighted or even blind. I think blind guys also suffer from this problem, but the ratio is pretty low compared to the blind men and the sighted women. Sighted women are more willing to open towards blind men than sighted men towards blind women. Of course this doesn’t mean that blind women don’t have chances at all but it turned out to be challenging and it needs a lot of sacrifice from her side. It becomes more difficult when this woman is well-educated and beautiful, as if she wants to say, what do I lack so that I don’t have a good opportunity with an equivalent partner?

A blind woman has a choice to make either to stay as she is, or she has to do some kind of sacrifice. For example, she may accept somebody who is not educated, even if she is highly educated. If she has money, most probably she is responsible to pay for the expenses associated with establishing the new house. What a painful feeling when you have to choose to be either nobody, or to pay to be somebody.

For me, who cannot appreciate me as I am, he simply doesn’t deserve me. My dear blind female friend, with all dignity, raise your head to the sky, you have love, caring, understanding, and faithfulness for whoever can only appreciate them. Honestly speaking, the guy also has the right to be with you or with another sighted woman; you can’t force anybody to love you.

Do you know what really drives me crazy when it comes to discussing this issue with sighted people? It is the hypocrisy and lying that they try to use in order to get rid of the discussion as soon as they can. So you may hear something like you are really great, you are more beautiful than many sighted women, you deserve the best person in the world, If you ask them if this mean that they can accept marrying a blind woman or not, you hear things like hmmm, I don’t know, I am not sure, I don’t think this can suit me. This applies on blind men too. We sometimes try to appear more civilized and understanding as long as the issue is very far from our personal interest. I never forget the story of my blind friend when she used to have a sighted girl friend. They were very close, they were like sisters. One day, the sighted friend’s brother saw my blind friend. He liked her so much and decided to marry her. As long as he raised the issue to his family including his sighted sister, the whole family started to put their curse on the poor girl. The closest friend now has become the fiercest enemy. The girl had to deal with a flow of insults to the extent that one of her relatives picked the phone and said to them that their son is the one who was running after her and they should deal with him far from the poor girl. The guy insisted on his choice and got married to the girl. Believe me that until now and after more than 3 or 4 years, and even after being a successful mother for two kids, his family still wishes if she doesn’t exist on earth. What if you get married to a sighted woman only just for being sighted and you discover later that she is not suitable. What if you get married to a very good person and she lost her sight after marriage, will you leave her? I don’t have an answer for your question my dear friend, but I suppose that people should be measured based on their qualities, not based on something that they can’t choose or have control on.

Skype: a Different World for the Blind

All of us know what Skype is. It is a very well-known internet telephony program for internet calls and cheap phone calls and SMS. You can use both video and audio to make free internet calls through PCs. I myself remember that I used the very early versions of Skype when we had to reinter the contacts every time after formatting our computer.

Skype for the blind is more than just making calls. Skype is a whole community to connect the blind individuals all over the world. It is a platform for education, entertainment, socialization, knowing new people, and even dating. As for education, blind Skype users were able to use the conferencing program features to give educational lectures, share information about latest technologies, or teach foreign languages. The listeners to the lecture can ask questions and give comment if needed, and they also can record the session for future usage or re-sharing through the internet. I can’t forget that lady who voluntarily helped me study geometry for an international exam on Skype, and save the cost of hiring a paid teacher to do the job.
Concerning the entertainment, sharing music composition, singing, poetry reading, exchanging recorded radio programs and shows are some of the top entertainment activities done using Skype audio conferencing features.
Once, a sighted friend of mine told me “you know all the blind people all over the world because of Skype.” Although she was exaggerating, she made it clear that Skype is a wonderful tool for the blind individuals to socialize and meet new people. Because of mobility limitation, travel costs, or being overseas, it is difficult to connect those friends together; however, they can talk for hours on daily basis. They can share their happy or painful moments and experiences without worrying too much about face to face communication or meeting. With the introduction of the video features, like other individuals, blind users were able to connect with their families overseas. Since Skype is that very successful for socializing and for meeting new people, it is a tool for dating and marriage used to know more the qualities of their potential partners. Many blind people don’t consider too much the physical appearance of their partner, so it is enough to like the voice, or to know the qualities of that partner through extensive conversations before taking more steps forward in the relationship.

For the blind, Skype is more than a program for making calls, it is a mean by which blind users can express their talents, solve a problem, or share information, and connect with more and more people all over the world.