YALI is Real

Peter Anomah-Kordieh K. has over seven years of experience in various fields in the disability development sector, and disability rights in particular. Currently, Peter K. is a program officer and human rights advocate for the African Union of the Blind, where he focuses on the ratification, implementation, and monitoring of policies and legislation for people with disabilities in Africa.

I arrived in the University of Wisconsin, Madison on the 17th June, 2016 in the evening. The warm welcome by the university officials and my fellow participants from the other countries across Africa gave me hope by all standard that, YALI is real.

Peter K. (Photo by Meagan Doll)
Peter K. (Photo by Meagan Doll)

I was very excited and was busily taken photos to send to family members and friends. Shortly, we were ask to go to the dining hall for dinner.

Even though I was happy, the food changed my mood of happiness to sad of missing home when the food entered my mouth and my tongue witnessed the change. The food I have eaten so far are different from the food I eat back at home. Honestly some of the fruits I eat at the first two days did not taste nice to me at all! However, I started enjoying them from the third day. I then remembered what was said: “Food in the United States will be very different from the food you are accustomed to at home. You may find it challenging to adjust to the food in the U.S., just as an American visitor to your country might find it challenging.   Open-mindedness and flexibility will make the adjustment easier.” I am tasting all the food and fruits in order to make selections.

As a person with visual impairment, a mobility instructor was arranged for me the next day at 09:00 Madison local time. I arrived at the venue at 08:59 and at exactly 09:00 the instructor arrived. That is my first lesson. “Americans consider punctuality very important and consider lateness disrespectful.”

One of my expectations is to learn how to do some basic things on my own using some public devices. As part of my mobility training, I have learnt how to use the elevator on my own. I have also learn how to buy some items using the Vending machine.

Truly with my short experience so far, “YALI is real.”

This gives me hope that I shall get the right connections and partners to learn from. Looking at how the game is nice and excited at the beginning, I have no doubt that it will end well.