I met Hope six months ago during my first weeks in Kopong when I was 'integrating' into the community. She's a strong young woman who went blind 10 years ago at the age of 15. "I went blind slowly," she told me, from Glaucoma. She learned Braille and is determined to get an 'accommodation' which I am not clear about, but believe is a government funded internship of some sort. I don't know if she learned determination and patience or came by those qualities naturally, but every time I meet her I am struck by how much she lives her name.
Her family is 'living on the edge' as my neighbor at home would say--the household includes Hope and her sister Joy, another sister, her mother, her two brothers, the children of a sister who is "late" (deceased) and a young cousin who is living with them in order to go to school. Only one adult in the household is employed. When I arrived with the bag of books and clothes, everyone was sitting outside in the sun. I handed Joy the Braille editions of The Pearl and Of Mice and Men and watched as her slim fingers moved across the raised bumps of the square pages. Everyone watched her silently, her brother Daniel smiling and nodding. She smoothed her hand across the front page, then smiled and said "I am not lonely when I have books."
I told her when she finishes the books we can talk about them. I also told her I was trying to start a book club at the library and if we read the same books she can join us. She smiled again. "I will teach you to write in Braille," she said.
Hope does not have a Perkins Brailler, the machine that types in Braille, but I have no doubt she will have one at some point and she will teach me to write in Braille.