While we were given a tour of Nhat Hong, we had the opportunity to see some of the facilities, including a classroom where students learnt how to package bottles make tea & coffee. As students, we tend to covet the most advanced technology and the trendiest clothes; we take for granted many things in life, such as the ability to see. Although the students were unable to see what we looked like, they greeted us all with their utmost pleasure and delight.
In addition, it was also interesting to know more about the system of reading which the blind adopts to study. Their normal textbooks were converted into Braille texts, and by touching those dots, the children were able to recognize the letters and read fluently. Their sense of touch means to them the world. I asked a student in Year 3 how fast he could read, and he replied that he could read faster than all the students in his class who had clear vision. Instead of writing, they slide a piece of paper into a slate, also known as a Braille writing frame. Then, using a stylus, they punch holes in the paper to form Braille cells.
It is said that scarcity brings out the best in a person. They may not have vision, but they possess immense willpower; they have the ability to see the world on a bigger scale, and have greater confidence in themselves.
Through the visit, I’ve realised how their visual impairment does not influence their lives in the way we think it does; when the children were talking, laughing and playing with their classmates after class, I momentarily forgot about their disabilities. Overall, I think that our trip to Nhat Hong was an extremely meaningful experience for all of us, albeit lasting only two hours.
Ju Ha Lee, Year 11 Student