Last Saturday, I got the chance to attend one of the special dinners hosted by Zoomanity Group, a leading company in the park industry. Named as Dinner in the Dark, the dinner series is for the benefit of the Eye Bank Foundation of the Philippines. It aims to create awareness about the struggles blind people go through every day.
For that weekend, Dinner in the Dark was held at Zoocobia Fun Zoo, Pampanga. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but after the event, I was so glad I took the time for it.
To start the night, there was a short orientation where our blind guides were introduced. They divided us into three groups and each group had a guide who stayed with the participants throughout the meal. Ours was Kuya Froilan.
We were asked to put on our blindfolds before getting inside the dining area. They said it was going to be pitch-dark but I wasn’t expecting for the place to be very cold — or maybe that was just me getting anxious, as we slowly entered the room with our hands on the shoulders of the person in front of us.
When we reached the table, Kuya Froilan patiently helped us find our seat and then told us that dinner is already set in front of us.
I would be lying if I tell you I immediately got the hang of it. It was difficult. There I was, trying to feel for my utensils and making sure I don’t make a mess or spill anything as I eat. While I was quietly struggling in my seat, Kuya Froilan started to tell the story of how he lost his sight. When that got my attention, I calmed down and was finally able to focus on what I should really be focusing on — our guides and their lives, not the temporary inconveniences I was experiencing at that moment.
After dinner, a table set-up outside the event area showed us what we had for the night: chicken, salad, mashed potato, and silvanas.
Stories and Life Lessons
Kuya Froilan lost his sight when he was three years old. His family took him to a hospital in their province and the medical professional mistakenly poured acid on his eyes instead of an eye drop. What did his family do after? Did they try suing the hospital or the person who “cared” for him? He said they did, but their lawyer backed out before the court reaches a decision for the case.
Kuya Froilan did everything he can to live a normal life. During one of the trainings for the blind that he attended, he met his wife, who also lost her sight because of a medical malpractice. They now have two kids. When asked how they manage to get through, he answered:
sa tulong ng pamilya namin at sa pagtitiwalang mayroong gumagabay sa amin (With the help of my family and the belief that someone is guiding us)
After dinner, we had a short talk about our experience.
Kuya Froilan’s story made me sad but at the end of it, I realized that his story shouldn’t have to be a sob story but an inspiration. It’s all about perspective.
If he can continue to be positive towards life after all that life has thrown at him, then I have no reasons not to do the same. And I’m quite sure you have no reasons either.
Dinner in the Dark has been an eye-opener. Apart from serving me a slice of the kind of life that blind people have, it made me realized that amidst everything, faith will take you a long way. Sounds basic, ain’t it? Well, it can be very hard to keep with all the things you have to face every day. Like Kuya Froilan, however, we’ve got to keep the faith.
With faith, what have you got to lose?
Want to experience Dinner in the Dark, too? There are two more schedules for November.
If you’re not doing anything this weekend or if you’ll be in Bohol next week, why not sign up for Dinner in the Dark with a friend?