Twinkle twinkle little star How I wonder what you are If you want to cry or sigh Don't forget to just drop by If you ever stray afar there is always Angelstar :)
Monday, November 27, 2006
My Date with Mr Veloo :)
Remember him? Mr Veloo? I remembered my promise to pay my good friend from St Nicholas whom I met on the White Cane Day activity , Mr Veloo in the home on the following Friday. Remember him? I posted on the St Nicholas White Cane Day a couple of entries ago....and this was him then during the day of the event and I quietly took a quick pic of him while he was taking his lunch. Hehehe....Mr Veloo really loves food; he enjoys eating and food really interests him. In fact, he has a sharp sense of smell as we went through the market during the day as he asked me all the food that were being cooked which dispersed all the aroma in the air at the time....hahaha.....good ol' Mr Veloo:) Anyway, as promised, I was supposed to meet up with him again on the following Friday; a week after the White Cane Day to see him during his daily schedule and also he promised me a quick tour:) Thus, I went for a quick lunch after work on Friday and headed straight to St Nicholas Home in Bagan Jermal in Pulau Tikus which is rather near Gurney Drive as well. It was cloudy and started to drizzle as I made my way there:P But it still did not stop me from fulfilling my promise:) I arrived there at about 2.30p.m...our scheduled time and drove into the St Nicholas Home compound. Upon entering the gate entrance, I was requested to produce my identity card for recordkeeping purposes at the security post and need to bring along the form to the person I am meeting for the authorization signature. I then proceeded to the main office and asked to meet Mr Veloo and also Hafiz; the supervisor for the group during the White Cane Day (a pretty young chap my age who is really passionate about his work:) Saw the guy; Kumar who actually was at the office to make the announcement to call for both of them to meet us. Hafiz came and was surprised to see me; then Mr Veloo came and we had a warm welcome. Then he proceeded to lead us on the tour; escorted by Hafiz on the way as well. First stop was the massage center where they taught them how to perform body massage. Pretty interesting and they do learn it in enthusiasm :)
He then led me to the classrooms; which is where they conducted the classes for the basic daily living skills; or rather survival skills for the visually impaired to live a normal life and to earn a living out there. The skills taught included sewing (tailoring), typing, reading Braille, carpentry, gardening, etc. It is amazing to hear about carpentry huh? I was equally amazed when I saw how they teach them to hammer the nails; mind you, it's definitely not an easy feat. The main things taught is to fix the connectors for doors - the simple repairs for them to be able to contribute to the household; it's the same for gardening. They were also given the opportunity to feed the animals such as the fish in the pond.
Next, we went to the co-op shop which is a mini market in the home but the goods were limited. In fact, there was even a reading corner in this little shop.
Then we went to the other direction and headed to the library and audio recording room where I saw tonnes of books in Braille prints. The librarian explained that a normal book could be in 3-4 volumes in Braille due to the 3D prints which makes the compilation of the pages bulky and thus require separation into volumes. She also showed us the audio recording of the news and then we were led into the audio recording room; where they need resources/volunteers to help in recording/translating the books into audio format. At the moment, they are still recording in the traditional medium; cassettes but are looking at the conversion to compact discs.
The next stop was the IT center; where the computers were located and also Hafiz's working area. He also showed us to the Samsung sponsored lab which housed all the new computers. Then we went to this IT room; where they printed Braille and this guy actually showed me how to do it using the software and also did a comparison between the manual typewriter and also the computer processing. Interesting:)Then they also showed us on the web surfing/browsing using the computer. Since they are visually impaired, the mouse is of no use to them; they are fully dependent on the keyboard and also the software, JAWS, which is installed to guide them by telling them the motion and also their clicking motion. It is also helpful when they type using Microsoft Office...I think they mentioned that most of the web applications are not that friendly to the disabled society yet....so sad:( Guess we took things for granted that we didn't realize others out there who needs these special attention and care. The last stop was the basket making area and also the music room. I also met up with the other girl; Nicole who is actually very enthusiastic about piano and also computers. I am gonna learn piano from her; hopefully...hehehe :) It was all in all an enriching experience-filled trip; we should really be thankful for what we have and try to help out those who are less fortunate in any way we can. Not that we need to watch out for their backs all the time; they do want to be independent as well but I think they do appreciate if the society is actually more friendly and accepting towards them. We finally left; followed by all the warm wishes from them around 4pm. Thanks Mr Veloo and Hafiz....take good care and hope we can meet up again as well :)
By the way, to those who are interested, they do have vacancies as well in the home...so, just give them a call :)