[blindkid] re teaching overseas

Weingartner, Paul PWeingartner at ag.org
Mon Feb 7 20:33:56 UTC 2011

Greetings, Joy, I commend you for your desire to expand your family
experience by teaching overseas.   The adventure would challenge all of
you, but it would reap life time benefits in the for your children.
I am hesitant to weigh in on the topic since you have received some
great words of wisdom from others.  This makes me wonder what more I
might offer.  Also, my views might not totally align with the views of
However, I have been different cultures and work closely with
missionaries and social workers overseas, so my perspective might be
First, I soundly agree that the person writing to you seems a bit over
confident ( and miss guided) in their view of your family, your daughter
and blindness in general. If this is something you want to move ahead
with, I would encourage you to make every effort to put your self in
their position and respectfully challenge their thinking.
I would not encourage you to dismiss their cultural concerns.  Learn as
much as you can about the culture so you can convince the school
leadership you have a creditable plan.   Many of our American techniques
don't work to well in other countries.
Long white canes get stuck in motorcycle taxi spokes and don't fit in
auto taxis.  Folding canes disintegrate on rugged streets and open sewer
channels of human waste are a challenge to cross on a 2x6 plank with or
with out vision.  
Some cultures even believe blindness is a connection to evil spirits.
On the other hand, nationals who are blind are encouraged by the amount
of freedom American blind people enjoy.  I had the opportunity to
address these issues on Nigerian TV last year.  My greatest influence
actually was with the widows who face as much cultural rejection as the
I would encourage you to pursue your dream but do your homework so you
are ready to face the challenges. 
God alone knows whose life might be better off because of your
daughter's blindness.
Please keep us posted!

"making the cross accessible"
Rev Paul Weingartner
National Representative for the Blind
Director of
Center for the Blind of the Assemblies of God
P 417.831.1964   F 417.862.5120

-----Original Message-----
From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org]
On Behalf Of Joy Orton
Sent: Monday, February 07, 2011 12:54 PM
To: blindkid at nfbnet.org
Subject: Re: [blindkid] re teaching overseas

Thanks for all the kind words and good ideas about teaching overseas.
Arielle raises a good question--is this a group we want to work with,
based on the views expressed? The counter-question to that is, how
much do we want to do to help educate the people in this group about
blindness and blind people?

I appreciate the feedback, which reflects some of what we were
thinking when we first read the email. Rene, your suggestions are

The organization in question runs international schools in a variety
of countries. The schools are American-style, with an international
population of students who are children of business people, diplomats,
and missionaries. The home office staff also are supposed to have had
some international experience. I think sometimes one person's
experience in one place can color their perceptions of the rest of the
world, just as a person's experience of meeting one blind person tends
to make them think they can generalize about all blind people.

Again, thanks all.

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