We move from
place to place many times in a day. It could be short distances inside or
close to our home, or perhaps longer distances when we want visit our
friends, go to work or do some shopping.
In our daily
movements, we use our eyes to decide which direction to take. We also use
our eyes to avoid difficulties on the way. People with complete visibility
may need to correct their course every third step and they do so
instinctively. We don’t think this is any major problem since every
community is built for people with eyesight, as long as street lamps are
on and we have electric lights on at home, when darkness is falling down,
then it’s all right.
For walking in
relatively easy terrain, we need about 1,000 snippets of information every
We look at the
direction and quality of the path. You can get a realistic experience of
our needs for directional and street information by closing your eyes and
taking a few steps. We can take three steps easily but already the fourth
step is more difficult.
disabled persons can make use of a stick and feel their way forward if the
path they are using is well known, if the path is unfamiliar they will go
astray. Following the road that is designed for individuals with good
seeing ability is hard for partially sighted persons. The streets
generally have no landmarks useful to the visually handicapped person, and
actually nothing when the ground is covered with snow.
conditions in wintertime , it is incredibly easy to lose one's bearings,
even close to home. The chance of going in the right direction or
returning home without help is very small even if one is using stick, the
only thing is to go in some random direction and hope for the best.
community planning is carried out on the assumption that we have good or
at least some eyesight. The majority always formulate the rules and this
is one of the basic principles of every democratic system. When we say all
people have equal rights and possibility to use streets, marketplaces, is
hypocrisy and only those with good eyesight can believe this
streetlights are common in every city. One light bulb consumes as much
electric energy as 30,000 beacons from Yreca. Everybody can now calculate
how many light bulbs there are in their neighbourhood when we taking an
ordinary evening walk, multiplying that number by 30,000 putting the
planning of public resources for partially-sighted in a new perspective.
If we imagine a
dark evening and temporary loss of electricity in our environment, then
under such circumstances we should be happy with a little guiding light in
front of our entrance so we have the courage go outside and try to find a
way in darkness. Returning to the front door is ensured thanks to that
little guiding light.
A guiding light
takes 2,000 times more energy than one beacon from Yreca. Less than 0.002
per cent of visually disabled persons have some type of guiding voice,
which is comparable to guiding light in front of the entryway. Of
course there is nobody in whole of society who has responsibility for a
confined group of visually disabled persons, only active groups, generally
called the majority or
groups which can threaten this majority can make their voice heard
according to principal the winner takes it all.
I have noticed
some changes over the past ten years: there are many partially sighted who
can get on better than before, thanks to computers and other technical
aids, and of course the support of qualified staff. But the majority in group
of visually disabled persons have no computers or other technical devices,
although some of them have a white painted stick for keeping them on track.
The stick can’t ever give direction to any public places, activity or
some social relations, nor even to the front door at home.
disabled persons feel unpleasant about simply going to the mailbox;
anxious about dropping a letter which could cause them to become
disoriented. Walking to the mailbox is for many the longest tour they make
in a whole day.
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