Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Eyes on the world.

I've just been watching a programme on iplayer, Beyond Boundaries: Where Are They Now, about a group of disabled people who trekked across Nicaragua three years ago. I didn't see the original programme, but I watched this sequel because I met one of the trekkers two years ago when I went on holiday to Sorrento. Amar Latif is blind and he started a travel company called Traveleyes, for blind people.

What they do is take equal numbers of sighted people along to be the eyes for those who are visually impaired. I wanted to go on holiday but didn't have anyone to go with, I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to meet up with a group. I met them all at Heathrow Airport, and was immediately struck by how organised it all was. I was initially paired up with Val, who had very limited sight during the daylight hours but virtually none in the evenings, Val was to be my room mate, she was great fun.

There was sixteen of us in total, eight sighted and eight visually impaired, and every day we partnered someone different, acting as their eyes, describing what we could see, and making sure they could walk safely on uneven surfaces. Amar and his sighted assistant Jenny were great, they had organised some fantastic tours, and couldn't have been more helpfull. This holiday certainly made me appreciate how kind and caring people can be, everyone was so friendly. I hope this doesn't sound too much like an advertisement, but I was genuinely impressed by how smoothly everything went, Amar looked after everyone, even though he can't see himself. If you want to see him in the programme it is here, Amar is the last person towards the end......
If you want to check out the holidays with Traveleyes look here.......

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