“I have more confidence to keep on living and never give up”
Alexander Arcani MamaniBlind and Deaf Alexander is 18 years old and will be 19 August 5, 2008, he remembers that at agethirteen he went blind, and at age fifteen he had a notable loss of hearing, admittingthis to be his fault, this is how his story begins,
“I didn’t take care of my eyes, I worked with my dad since I was a small kid with a lot of building materials, likecement that would go in my eyes” “I was also loosing my hearing, this also, was my fault because I had bad friends who threw a firecracker near my ears and it exploded and that minute I heard a loud ring and I couldn’t hear after that, since that moment I became a person with disability, I felt very sad because I couldn’t learn anything,my mom would pick up after me in my room, she would bring my food, I wasworthless, I didn’t leave my house for more than a year, I was so afraid!” “Until one day someone came to me and said that I could be taught, I could keep onstudying and go back to school to learn even as a person with a disability”
AcceptanceWho was that person who came looking for you?
“First my dad went down to the city of La Paz, I live in El Alto. He read a paper whichsaid that blind people could get insurance and a social security payment, so I wasregistered in “Instituto Boliviano de la Ceguera (Bolivian Instituted for Blind People)” as a blind person, and there another person sent me to Sense International, wherethey work with blind and deaf people. This institution is helping me because they teach me and they help me with funds for transportation to and from school”.“In this country there are few people who are both blind and deaf. I meet very few,for example Mr. Fernando, which has no hands and is blind and deaf, he graduated from school and attends University, he said I was going to make it, with those wordsof encouragement I felt very content and I know we, blind and deaf people, can learn. At this moment I study, I can serve myself my own food, I clean my room, wash my shoes, ect. I can even help my mom wash the clothes”.
EducationAre you studying now?
“Yes I am, the center where I study is “Aprecia La Paz”,and it is free! I work withblind and deaf people, I learned how to write in brail, that was a little hard but I did it!” “When I was in 5th grade I lost my vision, I wanted to keep on going to regular school but I couldn’t t see the black board any longer, I would get close to it to beable to read what it had written on it, and my classmates never knew what washappening to me, in this way I finished that grade, after that I had to pass to 6thgrade, but I could no longer see, and I was afraid to go back. I didn’t want my friendslaughing at me, I didn’t want to keep on going, I was very sad”.“I’m also in CEMA (Education Center for Adults), my school is called “Liceo Francia”,and I attend from Monday though Thursday from 19hrs to 21hrs, Its very far away from my Center Aprecia, I have to go from one side of the city to the other”. “At school I hardly have any problems, my teacher dictates all the subject and I writedown notes, sometimes its difficult to hear because my teacher speaks in a low voice,