Quarantine through the eyes of a blind person

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Adriana Flores is an ESL student at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Adriana Flores, Special to the Oak Leaf

I am a 45-year old blind student at SRJC since 2012. I was very excited taking the ESL 10 course when the classes were halted, and we had to be in quarantine as a result of the coronavirus. As a blind person, I could see this situation differently from the people who can see. Many people are in fear by the things they see or hear on the street and in the media. I have disconnected from all this, and I only know what my family, my friends or my son tell me about it. For this reason, I keep positive.

Moreover, I do not go out to the street. The only time that I almost went out was with my friend to buy my food. She was afraid because she thought that going with me, she could catch the virus and become unable to care for me or for herself at the same time. I decided that my friend should go alone to buy my food to feel more trusting. I can imagine the people’s faces under a mask full of fears.

The quarantine changed some plans that I had for my future.  For example, I was planning travel to Atlanta, Georgia in May after finishing the semester. And then I was to travel in June to Mexico to meet with my younger son, but now I don’t know if this date will be possible for travel. I only know that the quarantine destroyed all my plans. It also is affecting me a great deal because I am not working. I prefer to go to school or remain at home.  And now I am especially isolated due to quarantine.

Moreover, I must take my classes online and on Zoom, a program that I didn’t know and that now I have to learn to use. Although, it is not easy for blind people to understand the classes and to complete the assignments in this way, I have had to work hard to adjust. Sometimes I stay up until 1 or 2 a.m. doing the homework because it is too much and I must read and reread to understand it. I really appreciate my tutors who help me because together we make a good team. I think social interaction is very important for the humanity.  And with the quarantine, we can’t interact with other people. However, my older son visits me five days a week. And my friend comes over one day a week. They do it with their protective gear. And thanks to this care, they are not sick, and up to this moment I do not know anyone who has the virus.    

Sheltering at home has not only brought bad experiences into my life. It is helping me to learn more about the technology to be more independent to do my homework for myself. And I am enjoying the time that my son doesn’t work to cook with him and eat together. Facing a pandemic has not been easy for people who can see and more for me who cannot see.

Despite everything, I keep a positive mind trying to have peace in my soul and live without fear of what might happen or come into my life. I advise the people that mainly they should not feel afraid about what is happening. They have to keep the calm and peace in their heart and if they want to feel surer, they can avoid contagion by practicing distancing of 6 feet away from other people, using their mask all the time and washing their hands every time that they touch something. Mainly they need a positive mentality for all the changes that may come. For example, it is a benefit that Mother Earth can rest from so much contamination that human beings cause to the planet.