My Understanding of Life

来源:有人杂志   作者:阎上   2015.04.29 17:08  浏览912
摘要:The accommodations and catering conditions were very good at this care center. The sanitation conditions were better than those in hospitals, and there was no peculiar odor. Following the leader's explanation on the road, every time we entered a new area, I would hear behind us the terrible echo caused by the close collision. I was so afraid that I hurriedly passed through the visiting group and found my mother who was taking photos in the back and told her, “Mom, this is a prison...”

In October 2012, I went to visit a private care center in Guangdong. Stepping through the stainless steel fence, I saw dozens of people with moderate and severe cerebral palsy. Their ages varied, ranging from 12 to 62 years old. Some individuals were fixed to a flat bed with a belt, while others were placed in wheelchairs in the corner. Inside a large activity area, I saw barefooted people sitting on a bench, with eyes fixed on a single TV hanging from the ceiling. Regardless of gender or age, everyone wore the same uniform and hairstyle. The patients had no reaction to our visiting group. At one point, a man with a leg disability began to cry loudly on the bathroom floor. He climbed into a narrow space, and the staff quickly locked the steel fence behind him.

The accommodations and catering conditions were very good at this care center. The sanitation conditions were better than those in hospitals, and there was no peculiar odor. Following the leader's explanation on the road, every time we entered a new area, I would hear behind us the terrible echo caused by the close collision. I was so afraid that I hurriedly passed through the visiting group and found my mother who was taking photos in the back and told her, Mom, this is a prison...

I returned to Beijing for a week, after which, at the invitation of Inclusion International, I traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in the “Global Forum of Inclusion International Conference.” During the conference, I visited American companies who employed people with mental disabilities. I saw that in America people with light, moderate, and severe mental disabilities are able to work. For example, some sorted shelves at supermarkets; some worked on farms; and others hosted (events?) in wheelchairs. These individuals worked alongside people without disabilities, and I could see that they had been successfully integrated into their work environment. I also went to visit the home of a person with a mental disability. His name was John. He lived in a community and liked to collect cups. His cups came from all over the world and were neatly arranged on the wall. He could hardly speak, but his social worker could understand him. With the help of his social worker, he learned to cook and organize his house. And when needed, the social worker would accompany him to the supermarket, to the movie theater, and for travel. John and his social worker got along so well that they looked like a family.

I often hear that human rights are innate, and that everyone is entitled to them. After seeing the living environments of the disabled in China and America, I think the concept of human rights is different in different regions. At the institution in Guangdong, the living space of the disabled is isolated and closed, and the rights of the disabled are limited. While in Washington D.C. the mentally disabled can choose where they live. They can live in communities where they can interact with normal people and society. Furthermore, they have freedom of access, they can do what they want to do, and their rights are fully respected. After seeing the living environment of the mentally disabled in America, even I didn't want to go back to China. I think these individuals are the happiest people in the world.

The visits to the institutions in China and America have deeply impacted my life. These experiences have encouraged me to realize my social value and to decide my own future. While I will not work at a care center in the future, my goal is to be a self-sufficient community member, to find a job to support myself, and to take care of my family. Overall, these experienceshave helped me develop a deeper understanding of life and my place in it.

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