It’s also important to note that for the first time in my life I was really in the society of blind people. Almost everyone we met that day at Baltimore headquarters were blind and not just blind, but with canes. Administration staff, managers and the shop assistant. Almost all of them.
When Dr. Maurer clearly and directly asked what they can do to help and what they should do for us, I was confused, to be honest. The doctor spoke in a voice that showed me he was really going to do his best in the development of our relations. It is the American feature: the willingness to act without postponement. Time is money – so money is one of the main tools. It is really so.
I was confused, but pulled together and started inviting our American colleagues to the Congress in Russia in 2017 and to the round tables. I invited Dr. Maurer to join us in an inclusive regatta of NFB representatives. Dr. Maurer answered with the described dignity but simply that he’d be delighted to take part in the expedition. I adore to learn from these people!
This is really cool! I can’t help switching to slang. Almost all young and not only young blind people from NFB were extremely simple, decent and open.
Our leadership group arrived in the afternoon. We gathered in the conference hall. Dr. Maurer greeted and left us with two blind leaders. They told about the projects and activity. There were questions from the group. One of the answers finally convinced me that NFB has its own ideology. Moreover, it is intertwined with the ideas that our young organization is trying to spread. Thalis from Latvia asked about the accessible environment and tactile “signs” in the streets and in the subway. American colleagues answered that, indeed, they are trying to make these “signs”, but the main thing is not a “sign”. The main thing that a blind man with a cane be so self-sufficient that he would be able to find his way where there is no “sign” , with the same ease and convenience. The main thing that a blind person how less dependent on external factors as possible. Unlike my categorical judgments that these “signs are unnecessary for those who walk blindly, the colleagues gently explained that we all have to respect those who are starting to walk with a cane, and those who can and want to use this device. They are live, one might say moving «Extrability from NFB».
At parting, we got to test the new Russian version of KNFB reader – a program that allows you to read documents, photographing them from your smartphone. The program was installed on the latest smartphone model and packed in a box tied with a ribbon. There was a movie called “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.”
What else do I want to remember about Washington before Artyom knocking on the door for breakfast? We have visited almost all political sights and museums, I was able to walk to the cafe and back with Sumbul, a blind teacher from Pakistan. At parting, we managed to spend two unforgettable hours with Father Georgy in the cafeteria at an amazing conversation. In Washington, despite its capital air, great people and not very tasty tap water, in contrast to the Vermont and San Francisco. Just I drank a glass and getting ready for a new day.
Hopefully I will go on to Vermont, Chicago, San Francisco, and our group tomorrow.