WBU-AP(Junior Group) Excellent Work
THE POSITIVE EXPERIENCES & OPPORTUNITIES THAT CAN COME FROM BEING BLIND
William Wu, New Zealand 15 male

Blindness is a terrible and insuperable condition for anyone to live with. Imagine, living in a world without light - in total darkness. Surely, this is a heart-breaking and devastating curse!

I lost my sight at the tender age of two when I developed Retinoblastoma, a rare type of eye cancer, in both my eyes. In spite of having undergone a number of medical procedures (including chemo and laser treatment), the cancer cells could not be exterminated. Finally an operation had to be performed to remove the infected parts from both eyes.

Indeed, many people consider sight as being "the most precious" of the five God-given senses, and losing it is one of the greatest calamity in life. However, the truth is that blindness is only a curse if you see it as such. As for me, I believe it can be a kind of key to the many blessings of life if only one would look past the veil and shadows of sightlessness.

Truly, my visual impairment has given me many marvellous opportunities that my sighted peers have never imagined possible. For example, I was able to take part in an overseas camp to learn about Braille music, and to participate in the Onkyo Braille Essay Contest where I have the chance to write about my experiences. Through Braille, I am able to gain new knowledge and pursue my studies.

I can also enjoy the small blessings of every day like disability parking, priority for boarding a plane, and even booking a private lane at the pool for free. All these experiences, and much more, would never have come my way had I been fully sighted.

There are many blind communities all over the world and they are connected to one another through messaging or by their call groups. Though they are blind and experiencing similar problems on account of blindness, they are amazing and knowledgeable people who share their ideas and experiences with each other. Through contact with them, I have been able to learn so much such as new technological skills, sharing ideas on music, arts and craft, gaming tips, and infinitely more.

Being part of this great inspirational and educational network is a definite positive. I have made many friends, and through the sharing of ideas and experiences, we get encouragement and solutions to our problems. In this way, I feel positive and can focus on my goals in life. I know of no other community which is like our blind community. When we are cheerful and motivated, we are a source of inspiration and encouragement to our friends, both sighted and blind, but especially to those who feel down-hearted and disappointed with life.

Sometimes people are amazed when they see a blind person doing something which they perceive to be exceedingly difficult. For example, they think that rock climbing is an impossibility for the blind. In reality, however, I think rock climbing is more about technique than about seeing.

Also, some things that blind people do on a daily basis and which we would consider them to be "normal" things, can actually amaze and surprise some sighted people. They have come up to me and say that I am "inspirational". I feel embarrassed but, at the same time, I get a sense of happiness and thankfulness that I can touch people's lives in this way. On the other hand, sighted friends help me to know about the "sighted world", thereby preparing me for entry into that world after leaving school.

Being visually impaired has introduced me to extraordinary opportunities and events which would not have been possible if I was not blind. And being blind has connected me to a worldwide community through which we are able to share knowledge, ideas and tips; thereby making the world an easier, safer and better place. It has helped me to develop self-confidence, and made me articulate in expressing my thoughts and feelings.

Indeed, living as a disabled person among the sighted in my school community has been mutually uplifting. All these experiences and events are positive things in my life. All these positive things show that living with blindness is not a curse - if we would only make full use of the gifts that God has given to us and the opportunities that come our way.



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