Saturday, August 1, 2009

Conquering Everest Blindly

Erik Weihenmayer was the first blind person to conquer the tallest mountain in the world, Everest.

When asked about this feat, he said, I was confident I could do as well as anyone who goes to that mountain. And I knew I could turn back gracefully if necessary.
Just 5 years before this achievement, 15 climbers died in a storm that trapped 3 groups near the summit. It was Everest worst death toll for a single year.

Despite the tragedy and being criticized as a potential liability for his team, Erik said:

“… I refused to be the weak link of the team. I wanted them to put their lives in my hands as I would put mine in theirs. I would carry my share. I would contribute as any other team member. I would not be carried up to the mountain and spiked on top like a football. If I were to reach the summit, I would reach it with dignity.”

Nicknamed Super Blind or Blindenheimer by close friends, this ex-school teacher is not only the first blind person to summit Mount Everest but also one of only about 100 people to successfully summit the highest peaks of the world’s seven continents.

In 2004, Erik and Everest team members went to Tibet to train blind students on a climb to the Rombuk Glacier on the north side of Mt. Everest.

In a country that believes that blindness is a sign that evil spirits are present – Erik challenge the local superstitions.

Erik said,

“These were blind kids who were told they had evil spirits inside them, kids who were tied to beds in dark rooms, kids who were sold in and out of slavery.”

Source: [LINK]

I still remember when I was a kid, I had this kind of disease that disabled me from being a normal person. I couldn't walk when I was a kid. All I could do was sitting on the chair waiting for my parents to take me up to school. I was pretty damn helpless back then.

It is not easy being a person who is born with physical disabilities. They have to rely on other people on some point. Well, I have experienced that before. Thank God, now I can walk.

Erik's story is really an inspiring true story. He showed the world that nothing can't be accomplished even if you are blind or whatsoever. It's the will and the spirit that counts.

I have a friend. His name is Nazri. We met during the royal concert of Ministry of Education held at PWTC Kuala Lumpur last 2 months. We are both talented singers but he's special. He's blind and he plays guitar. He always touch my heart when he sing with his guitar. I can assure you that he sees things clearer than me although he is blind. He sings sincerely and people listen to him everytime he opens his mouth. What I'm trying to say here is that, despite of his disability, he stands up and does thing that touches the hearts of other people around him. The same thing goes to Erik. These are people that we all should look up to and be proud of.

Come on people, if a blind man can do what we think is impossible, so do us. Blind people can see with their heart and that's what we need to learn from them.

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