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The Braille Alphabet gave me the book light by Rodica Sandu
Female, Romania, 65 years of age

My name is Rada Rodica Sandu from Craiova. I was born on a cold February night of 1951, in Segarcea from the Dolj County. I was the ninth child of a poor family, with no literate people. It had snowed a lot and the wind was blowing strongly, blocking the streets and the people yards. At my birth, my mother had serious health problems. Due to the bad weather, my family couldn’t take her to the maternity hospital, recently founded in our community. She gave birth helped by a neighbour that did it many times before with other women. At daylight, I was born with my mother groans of pain, a little chubby girl with yellow hair and blue eyes. My mother continued to have health problems after my birth and the neighbour wrapped me in a thick blanket; she put me in a joined bed and then she did everything was possible to save my mother. Next morning, when my mother felt better, the neighbour remarked that my eyes were filled with pus. The doctor from our village came and she washed my eyes with tea telling my parents to take me to a specialist in Craiova, the nearest town. When I was two years old, they took me to an ophthalmologist. I could see just the light and I distinguished between day and night. The doctor said I would never see better and nobody knows how much time I would continue to see. When a famed ophthalmologist came to Craiova, they took me to be consulted thinking that someone will give them a hope that I would see. Also, they took me to the Bucharest, but unfortunately no one gave them assurances that I would see. I was doomed to live in darkness without being able to see my way.
I had two brothers I played with all day long. They taught me their games and they were happy I caught quickly anything. I knew very well our yard and the street and I were running together trying to catch or to find them. They asked me to guess who was the one I got. I was running with no fear I would hurt or I would fall into a pit. Up to a particular age, I thought I was the same as the other children. I climbed up the trees as they did, with no fear. When my brothers left to go to school, I became sad, because they had no spare time to play with me. When they came home, they told me what they had learnt, reciting me poems from their books. I learnt quickly and they were happy I was smart. I had a radio and I was listening to it. This way I learnt many songs which I sang at home and especially in the trees. Those who heard me were astonished with tears in their eyes. When I was seven years old, an envelope from city hall was sent to my family; it informed them to do my documentation for the blind deficiency school from Buzau. The relatives and the neighbours were trying to persuade them let me go there. Thus, I will be a literate person and I could have an occupation. I will have a job, and I will live from my work; I will not stay at brother's mercy when my parents will die. But my parents were not persuaded. Why should I go to the school if I can’t see? How will I learn? And how could I work? When they asked me, I said I would go if my mother comes too. We started crying together. I was ten years old.
In a winter evening, I entered the house and I told my mother from the threshold to light the lamp. She said it was lit and I started crying, then I went to sleep. The second day I couldn’t see the light I saw before. Many years have passed. I got used to the lack of light. In a summer day, a representative for the subsidiary blind persons from Craiova came and asked me if I wanted to go to the school for blind girls in Arad. I gladly accepted and I recited my personal data for the necessary file. My family didn’t oppose anymore because now I was major and I could decide by myself the future. So, in the next autumn, I was a pupil at the school from Arad.
           At the beginning, it was difficult for me because I had never left home. Sometimes I wished to come back. The Braille Alphabet, with its entangled points which didn’t look like anything, seemed to me impossible to be learnt. I hardly accustomed with the school habits. But step by step I got used to all. I started to walk alone into the boarding school. Helped by my teacher, I began to decipher the secrets of the Braille Alphabet. At the beginning, I didn’t imagine how I could learn if I couldn’t see. Now I felt it was possible and I was sorry I wanted to go home. I learnt the alphabet quickly. The first book I read was the Revolt. When I finished it, I wept for joy. A light entered my soul. During the summer holiday, I took the book home and I read to my brothers. They were listening to me and I felt they were crying. Every year I was to be awarded. The fact that I could read and my performances were appreciated awarded, were the greatest satisfactions offered to me by Braille. Helped by Braille, I kept in touch with my friends all over the country. I had the opportunity to take part at competitions like The Friends of Braille Book, organized by Romanian Blind Association. Here I met to old friends and colleagues.
The value of the Braille Alphabet increases because today [on the raise of other means of communication], we find labels, Braille printed, on the hotels doors or elevators, into the museums or botanical gardens, on the drugs boxes.
I feel a great satisfaction that the Braille Alphabet bestowed upon me a beneficent light, the light of being literate.


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