I recently met this very cool couple Douw and Briony, they are both blind and live in a flat in Roodepoort. Apart from being two amazing individuals, they are keen Zero Wasters, in other words they are adapting their lifestyle to generate less waste, live cleaner, and aim to develop wiser consumer behaviour. They buy products as natural as possible, and are also trying to buy plastic free or unpackaged. Douw has been surfing the net (how does he even do that being blind!) looking for ways to green-up his grooming routine and came across our website. After a bit of conversation he loaded up a cart and checked out online. He also mentioned the idea of a video clip of his first shave with the intention that it would inspire 'regular Joe's' to take up this manner of shaving as it is 'greener', cheaper and such a cool way to loose your whiskers. He is also keen to get the message across to other blind folk, as they both have a passion for people with disabilities. Keeping the cost of living down to a minimum is important, especially for people with disabilities as many of them are reliant on grants and the goodwill of family and friends. They seem to have a close knit community and I think us 'normal folk' could take a page from their book about standing together and getting along with our fellow humans
The video was shot in their kitchen as the bathroom was a bit too cramped for all of us. I decided before hand to give minimal advice and see how he gets along, this form of shaving comes natural to me and I was hoping it would be similar for him. As I suspected he had little trouble in getting the job done, it was not perfect, and he missed a few spots, but he easily discarded the ridiculous myth that a safety razor is not user friendly. His comment at the end pretty much sums it up: "If you are blind and can shave with a safety razor, anyone can" Something else worth a mention is that Douw also suffered a stroke a few years back and has limited use of his right hand/arm, this just drives the point he is trying to make home that much harder. The clips are pretty shoddy and stitched together as I was putting the phone down from time to time to lend him some guidance or have a chuckle with him or his wife, but I think the 'evidence is clear'
The hour or two I spent with them was an 'eye opener', listening how tasks like getting to work, preparing food and making coffee gets done without the ability of sight gives one an enormous thankfulness for one's own pair of headlights, and also a feeling that our 'mundane' lives are actually glorious sensory explosions that hits us every second of every day.
We all got along very well, our 'famous South African sense of humor' of being able to laugh at ourselves as well as with others made the visit as friendly and comfortable as the Gupta's fingers in the Eskom cash register. We have been invited for a braai, if its anything as good as the freshly ground coffee they served up we are going to have a blast, and we are looking forward to visiting them soon, there may even be a second video clip to capture his progress.
As I was driving back home something popped into my head and I would love for you to contemplate this. How can blind people, who cannot see the messed up, littered world we live in, come to the realization that our way of living is stuffing up our environment and take action to make some changes, yet you and I who see the litter lie next to the road, in nature and in our National parks, us who see the crap in our rivers and oceans, how can we still think it is ok to live like we do? Next time you put your neatly knotted black bag of rubbish 'out on the pavement' know this, your waste will remain out there, maybe not in your yard, but you could be driving right past your own litter next to the roadside a week or two later, you could see it pulled from the Hennops or Moreleta waterways next time caring folk do a river clean-up, or you could have it wrap itself around your leg when taking a dip in our majestic oceans. You could be swearing and cursing at the type of people who live like this, do such things, and little would you realize it is your own waste blown about from the landfill, or washed into our rivers.
Wise up folks, its crunch-time, your job, car or house will not matter in 50 years, your kids education is of lesser concern, ensuring they have a living planet to walk one IS a huge concern, we cannot afford to miss the bus on this one!