By Agustina Fazio
I arrived from Panama some days ago, where I participated from META’s Strategic Planning meeting. There, I met some META members from different countries, with whom I work all year long. We work to reduce barriers (physical, social, all kinds of barriers) to be able to live together as part of a society.
I am always bothered by those barriers, because most of the times, it’s about things that are not even done on purpose, just because we are used to them, but other people get tired, as a consequence. “It is easier” to talk faster, or not to describe the pictures we put in a presentation. But because of that, Emi gets tired, and Mati does not get the joke that the image contained, just because someone thought it was more comfortable, or easier, not to mention it. And I ask myself: why is it always the same people getting tired?
I asked Jembell if she didn’t get tired of being continuously asking and claiming for accessible toilets. She said yes (obviously), but someone has to get tired. And I was left wordless. For us to stand where we stand today (in relation to disability but other subjects too: family, feminism, the rights of any minority) other people “got tired” before. Millions of wheelchair users claimed for ramps. Today, ramps are considered something easy, they are constructed without question. Accesible toilets are not that “obvious” yet, and even less is accessible communication. Luckily, there are many who look further ahead and use their bodies and their ‘tiredeness’ to fight together with others.
META is that way. Germán is deaf, but he can (and chooses to do it) walk with Anielka (who is blind) to help her fetch her coat. Estafenía is blind, but she knows where the toilet is, so she guides me. Mari has a physical disability, but she shouts as loud for her own rights as for the health services to include Sign Language (which she doesn’t need).And I could add more examples.
It is not easy for anybody, there is always a right (or a wish) still not achieved. But if someone “gets tired” with me, it’s nicer, a bit easier, and also more fun (I have witnesses for that!)
I always choose to share. I have been told that what I do is not to pay attention to myself, but to focus on others. Maybe it is because I’m stubborn, but I don’t think that is true. “What I give, comes back to me”, and as soon as I get tired with others, others do the same for me, and the “support network” turns more beautiful and complex.
Let’s lend, give or make available our gifts, our bodies, our “tiredness”. If it doesn’t benefit me, it will benefit others. If it isn’t now, in some years’ time it will get easier for someone, and the effort will be worth.