Guests from Abroad

Students with Fanny in front of the school In April, we received our first guests from abroad. After a presentation in Germany, I met Fanny and Ralph who are active in international cooperation for the support of the blind. Following an interesting exchange of ideas and experiences, Fanny and Ralph accepted my invitation to visit Bats in Action in Brazil. Below an abstract of their report:
“When my partner and I, Ralph, followed the invitation of our local association for the blind for a presentation about a project for the blind in Brazil on February 22nd of 2016, we didn’t imagine that this would not only broaden our horizons, but also get us out in the big wide world. But this is what happened. We got so interested in the report of Anja Pfaffenzeller about her work with Bats in Action in the northeast of Brazil that, about 6 weeks later, we traveled to Brazil in order to spend two weeks and get a first-hand impression of the work of Bats in Action. (…)”
“‘The Bat’s Cave’” is a small house with a living room, 3 bedrooms, a small kitchen and a bathroom, which is a toilet and a shower. In each bedroom, there are several bunk beds. Classes take place in one of the rooms, in addition there is an external classroom in the village library, 5 to 10 minutes walking distance. (…)”
“Moitinga is located a little outside the city center. This means, if students want to go shopping, they need to walk about 20 minutes on rural roads take a bus to reach town, find the supermarket, get assistance for shopping and then go the same way back again. This is part of the normal every day challenges, as well as cooking, washing dishes and clothes. All students receive support to learn the skills they need without any pressure of time. But for sure, nobody will do things for them, definitely not. If small Wiliany loses her soap again, she will need to look for it by herself, no matter how long it takes. During our stay, we helped with English classes for adult students. In addition, they learn Braille, their signature and to use the computer. (…)”
“If I need to summarize my impression of Brazil, I would call it the country of contradictions. We experienced true faith, but also fake religiousness. We had dinner with a student and his family in one of the most expensive restaurants of the region, but also had lunch in a simple house in a favela. We met generous and happy people, but we were also warned to be careful with our money at the bus stop. First of all, we got to know an ambitious project of the blind for the blind. It was very interesting to learn about the situation of blind people in Brazil in the city and in rural areas and to be able to contribute to the activities in the project.”
Fanny and Ralph observed a lot and gave us valuable feedback. The outside perspective helps us to reflect on our activities and improve our work. We are looking forward to more guests from abroad.
Fanny says: “So, who is adventurous, get in touch with the Bats and go to see them in action! For sure, they don’t bite.”

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