EBU(Junior Group) Excellent Work
“The Summit of Kilimanjaro”
France Marine Delachaussée(19/Female)

“Ascension”, “boghead”, “cacochyme”, “diamino” “endoreism” ... how did I learn to write all these words? The simple answer is that I have always loved reading. But one day I found myself lost in the misty colour of “Boghead”. There began an almighty “Ascension”. As I didn’t want to end up “cacochyme” (not in the physical sense of the word, like an old man, but mentally, like someone lazy), I used a kind of “diaminophenol” beginning with the letter “B”. As I like the sea, and I like to reach my goals, I didn’t want to take on the characteristics of what is known as “endoreism”. So, I had to learn Braille.
Does all that seem complicated? You may even imagine that it has no meaning. Just like the first days spent learning Braille. But although it may seem frightening at the outset, in reality it is not as difficult as that: “One day, I found myself completely in the dark. I had to climb a mountain that seemed even higher than Kilimanjaro. As I didn’t want to end up weak and in poor mental health, I was introduced to something even more magic than diaminophenol. Diaminophenol is the chemical agent which reveals the image in the photographic development process. Braille reveals, in relief version, the words in all the stories that I could no longer see. As I have many future projects and intend on realising them, I don’t want to get lost on the way and end up in the wrong place. If I were a stream I would want to run all the way to the sea. I wouldn’t want to get lost in the hidden valleys of the countryside. So, I had to learn Braille.”
“To learn Braille”. The first time I heard that and realised that it was meant for me, I was astounded. But at the same time, I so much wanted to learn to read by myself again that I learned the alphabet without much difficulty. It is afterwards that things got complicated. When you need to pick up speed and learn shortened Braille to save time and space. “Braille is important, Braille is important, Braille is…” Today I am 19 years old and in a fifth year literature class. When I started with Braille I was barely 17 and was in a fifth year literature class … my route over the last few years has been somewhat strange. Yes, for some it can take time, just as for others it can be very rapid. In my case I was in such a rush to get to the top of the mountain that everything went very quickly at first. But then I rapidly ran out of steam. And so I began to think that audio was such an easy choice… Why make life more complicated than it already is? Who cares about Braille? Tomorrow is another day. “Braille is important, Braille is important, Braille is…” At least that’s what the teachers say. They have always got something to say. I can still hear their voices in my head. It is part of their job to say that. They need to get with it. Jaws exists, CD players and Mp3s now. Braille has had its day. I give up. I like audio books, after all is said and done, you get used to them. They are pleasant enough. Oops, I forgot about the snow on Kilimanjaro…
One day I participated in a speech-making contest. I was still a beginner in Braille, but apparently was doing ok. But I did say “apparently”. (I was in a technical adaptation class where we spent all day doing just.) I knew my speech by heart. But then, yikes, right in the middle my mind went blank. It makes me think of the beautiful snow that I wanted to reach just a year ago and that I had forgotten. Why hadn’t I worked harder in class? My text is there. Just in front of me. There are a lot of pages… if only I could read quickly, I could carry on without any difficulty. Oh no… the others are lucky. They have printed versions of their text. It is easier. My fingers slide over the Braille, but I’m shaking so much... I can’t find the right line. If I knew how to read correctly I would be on an equal footing with all the other candidates. Ahhh. Maybe only ten seconds went by, I remembered the rest. All’s well that ends well… At that moment I promised myself that I would learn Braille properly, finally having become certain that is was useful… It was snowing. It was December. But afterwards, summer arrived. I forgot, once again, about the snow that filled me with dreams… the months rolled by.
The summer of 2010/2011, a lot of snowflakes fell. My brain froze over as I realised that I know longer knew how to write correctly. Because, yes, this winter, I became aware of something. A few years ago I saw and read a huge amount. Although I was never great at dictation, spelling itself was not a problem. I absorbed what I saw. Now that I read everything in audio format, except for my lessons which are in Braille, I realised that my brain was no longer absorbing things in the same way. I was making more and more mistakes that I wouldn’t have made previously. What is worse, I forgot how to spell words that I knew. At that moment, I cried out for help. I think of that well-worn phrase that my schoolteachers repeated all the time and which bored me so, “Braille is important”. I no longer doubt the truth of it. Braille is now everywhere. On my CDs, in the kitchen… it is just so practical, even to write… I just hope that this time, these thoughts will not melt away in summer, but will instead ripen during the spring. In fact, I hope that they will never become “cacochyme” either… Because, for someone who wants to become a French teacher, a writer, a lawyer, a concert musician, an actor, a writer, a volunteer in an association… and who is so in love with the beauty of words, it is a little bit awkward not being able to read and write... So, yes, I am finally becoming a bit of a teacher myself and I say “Yes, braille has changed my life”.

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