One fall back when I was younger than I am currently, I had the great privilege of being one of a select group of visually impaired students who got to go on an all expenses paid trip to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. There were several other visually impaired students that went along with me. We went with some chaperones from APSEA (Atlantic Provinces Special Education Authority)…because it just wouldn’t look good if a bunch of 10 year olds (at the time) went out of the country by themselves without really know where they are going. As with all expense paid trips, someone has to foot the bill. This trip would not have been made possible without a generous donation from Terry Kelly, a folk singer and good friend of APSEA.
So off we all went. The first few nights were riddled with homesickness because we hadn’t been this far away from home by ourselves before, but the days were a blast. We got to go on all sorts of fun simulators, and even experience what it’s like to be in Mission Control. I was the “Mission Scientist” it was really cool. I made several friends down there, one of them was a completely blind kid who we will call Jorge.
Jorge was a nice kid and we got along very well. I figured I’d help lead him around places when he wanted me to. This worked out better than either of us expected, until one day when we were heading out from the “Habitation” to the mock shuttle Endeavor to have a group picture taken. The thing is, my depth perception leaves me when I need it the most. Somewhere along the line, I missed a step and subsequently tripped on it. I also forgot to inform my completely blind friend about it, and he tripped and fell to the ground.
I felt really sorry and explained to him that it was an accident. Who wants to hurt their own friends?
He was alright, but I wasn’t allowed to guide him anymore.