Every day we are inundated with reports about COVID-19: statistics, new cases, and worse. Every day we hear of how the coronavirus has impacted people all over the world, but have we heard specific reports of its effect on blind and visually impaired individuals? Answer: not until now.
In this sixteenth episode in our series, Around the World with COVID-19 from a Blindness Perspective, we hear from Alvaro Gutierrez from Bogota, Columbia.
Thus far we have spanned the globe with blind citizens Around the world, from Australia and Malaysia, to the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada and Japan. Now we hear a first-hand report from Alvaro with his unique perspective on how the coronavirus has affected him in Columbia.
Alvaro Gutierrez hails from Bogota, Columbia, in south America, where he lives with his parents, providing physical, emotional and financial support in a city and country that has seen a difficult progression of COVID-19, from its first case in March 2020 through the evolution of imposed restrictions and the lifting of those same restrictions.
Alvaro shares his story of how he has provided financial assistance by converting dollars to Columbian pesos, allowing him to purchase valuable groceries and other goods bought on-line, for both his family and his cat. He discusses how food and other essentials are delivered to his home with sanitary precautions, via the elevator in his building, to safeguard his family’s health particularly his parents, who are most vulnerable to the virus.
Alvaro has reached out to his friends to reassure them that we will make it through this crisis, displaying his positive attitude, which is obvious throughout this podcast. He truly believes that our strength will allow us to prevail and that a cure or vaccine will be found very soon. He has spent his time listening to various genres of music, ranging from classical, to country to soul, all of which he finds inspirational. He has been productive during the quarantine and has taught himself both the NVDA and Jaws screen readers to give him full access to his computer, even without the use of his limited vision.
Finally, listen as Alvaro shares his words of encouragement to all of us as we continue to fight through this pandemic and come out even better on the other side.
Of course, we have added news clips to this podcast to illustrate how the virus entered and progressed in both Bogota and Columbia as a whole. Listen to how the virus, the government restrictions and changes to those restrictions have affected the poorer citizens of Columbia, and impacted not only their financial situations, but their overall health as well.
special thanks go out to Chee Chau, for his beautiful song and titled wayfarer.
Be sure to tune in to more informative episodes to hear how your BVI counterparts around the world are coping with and adapting to cOVID-19.
Contact Your State Services
If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361.
Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group