World without eyes.

Do you ever wonder how it is to lose your eyesight? What would you do if it would happen? How people can live like that? Franek is a normal man who went through this. Meet him!

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– Hi, introduce yourself and say something about yourself.
– Hi, I’m Franciszek Kostrzewski, I am 26 years old, I finished the bookbinding school. I love sport and I have been blind from the age of 13.

– Tell me, please, at the beginning of your illness, how did it look from the medical side?
– Since I was born, I’m visually impaired, I was born with toxoplasmosis. My mother had to start my rehabilitation right away, if it was not for that moment, I would be condemned to a wheelchair. I began to lose my vision when I was 12, it started so that there was once bright, once dark before my eyes. But I tried to live life as long as I could. I did not care about my disability, I even rode a bike. Once I fell over and landed in the bushes and then I went back to the bicycle. After a year I completely lost my sight.

– What feelings did you have at that time?
– It is difficult to say, but I always treated problems as challenges. At first, I had to comfort my family, my mother was very worried, because I have 7 siblings, did not know if she will cope with such a heavy duties. Dad tried to act as if nothing had happened. But all in all we always support each other.

– Darkness reminds me of fear, how is it with you?
– The fear was from the beginning and it is still today because you never know what is waiting for you. When I walk down the street, I do not know if someone will fall for me right away or I will not get lost, I will not go down the stairs.- How do you deal with it?
– I need to catch strangers on the street.

You must be a social person?
– I must, because, for example, blind, shy and introvert people are still sitting at home, they are not able to overcome this fear, they are closing in on themselves. They are constantly complaining.

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– Can you say that the activity of blind people depends on their personality?
– Yes, their anxiety is often caused by how they were treated at home, for example their parents kept repeating them, do not do this, do not do that, because something might happen to you. I think that they have to try to learn. As once I will pour boiling tea, the second time I will know how to pour it without getting burned. In my opinion the most important thing is to try to become as independent as possible. Most often parents make a mistake in upbringing, telling their child that they can not do something, because it is dangerous. If you do not fall over, you will not learn / what will not kill you will strengthen you. I have a few adult friends who still go everywhere with their mother, such people make themselves disabled. I travel alone, I ask people and I know my city almost by heart.

How your friends reacted to your loss of sight?
– I had friends – I don’t have them, they disappeared together with my eyes. I do not hide my resentment. I think that this is due to fear of the unknown, even now, after so many years among my loved ones I feel that people are holding a distance, they are afraid of me because they do not understand … I do not judge them, it is new situation and they do not know how to behave.

– With what reactions do you meet on the street?
– Usually, people are helpful, sometimes over-zealous, I just want to ask if I’m in the right place, and they insist they will lead me. On the one hand, this is cool, sometimes irritating, but as I see someone wants to help me, I agree, even when I’m sure that I can do it by myself. Many blind people react to this behavior with anger, in my opinion this is a mistake, because if they actually need help, nobody will want to help them, not because they are disable, just because he can not keep.Recently I had an unpleasant situation in the bus. I wanted to buy a ticket. I say to the driver that I am blind, and the driver accused me of a lie, because I used the phone and specially gave me the rest the way that I couldn’t take it because he didn’t believe that blind people can use the phone. I didn’t want to talk to him and explain to him that there are speaking programs for a blind. But it happens, people ignore me pretending that they don’t hear.

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Do you think that thanks to the fact that you once saw yourself, you have easier than blind people from birth?
– I would be blind from the beginning, because I had to start learning life again, as a teenager I became an infant again. I am glad that I am able to recall the colors and the face of the family, but I have had a lot harder position to deal with. Unfortunately, each medal has two sides.

Do you know of blind couples, are these people able to raise a child, would you ever want to start a family?
– There are such marriages, I personally do not know them but I’ve heard of such stories. As for children, I think they can bring them up, but with the help of third parties, maybe someone from the family. I would like to have a child in the future I am not afraid of anything! It happened to me that friends left me with one year old children for 10 or 15 minutes. And I managed, I kept babies on hands, I wore around the room, so I’m already skilled! I just need to find the right partner.

Thank you very much for the interview. I keep my fingers crossed for you!
– See you next time!

                                                                                                              Interview by Dorota Łyczak.

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