Last week we had a celebrity come to the ESOL Jesus Centre class – Meghan –no, not a duchess but a dog!
She came to guide her owner, Stephanie. Meghan is a guide dog.
The Wednesday conversation class’s present topic is ‘People Who Changed The World’. We have all talked about the amazing achievements of people like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Gandhi and Florence Nightingale .This week we learned and talked about the twelve-year old blind inventor of the six-dot Braille reading system – Frenchman, Louis Braille. We also discussed two clips of Helen Keller, the ground-breaking deaf-blind American woman who ‘broke the sound barrier’ in terms of what deaf-blind people can achieve and travelled the world speaking up for the rights of disabled people.
Stephanie and Meghan came to show us just how much blind people can do and achieve, thanks to the exploits of game-changers like Louis Braille and Helen Keller. We saw amazing gadgets, tailor-made for blind people, and a braille book; we had the chance to learn some Braille – and British Sign Language – for ourselves – and Stephanie answered a host of questions from our students. It was such fun! Meghan won our hearts, lying on her back with legs up-sprawled, showing her enjoyment at and relaxation in our company and displaying her brilliance by leading Stephanie to the fire exit at the simple command, ‘DOOR!’
I came away so inspired – by Stephanie and her amazing independence and zest for life, for Meghan and her delightful loyalty, for Louis Braille and Helen Keller who, despite, indeed because of, their personal tragedy, changed the world – and, yes, for our wonderful ESOL students who show such fascination, such respect, and such love of learning and talking about all manner of new and inspiring topics!