As the time of writing this morning, I’m intending on spending the day catching up with my recorded programmes on the TV. Why am I sat here in front of the tellybox? Well, to tell the truth it’s to pass the time whilst my darling P and his friends are having their regular Monday cards school and as usual, all I can hear is laughing, shouting and various other playful noises! It’s great fun to be the outsider, listening to their shouts of “cheat!”, “noooo!” and the constant wind-up question “what’s trumps?” only interrupted by the movement of chairs, the boiling of the kettle and the clinking of cups.
Sitting here, eyes glazing over and my mind wanders back to another time when I heard the sounds of people just simply enjoying their time together, back to our recent holiday where the sunshine was certainly guaranteed and families were there to enjoy themselves. With the splashing in the pool and laughter everywhere, it could have been your typical overseas holiday scene but for two important details – everyone there was either with someone with a disability or had a disability themselves. It really is a most remarkable place and somewhere that teach the rest of the world something about acceptance and accessibility.
I remember writing these sentences whilst I was there…….
“With the sun and the swimming pool in front to me, I am absolutely overwhelmed by the love and kindness I see in front of me. Anywhere else the mix of strangers with so many different needs would be staggering but here, that’s not the case, here we’re just us having a great holiday.
There is there is a family of 3 with two members in wheelchairs, there is the couple where one is in a wheelchair and the other isn’t, there is a small boy swimming in the pool trying his hand at snorkelling and a 13 strong family surrounding the completely disabled child in the pool. A truly beautiful sight, they surrounded him with love and laughter, each taking a handful of the sling beneath him to make sure he didn’t drop out at all.”
“And then there is the lady who can say nothing but ‘da’ and the woman with the two carers who are swimming and sunbathing alongside her.
Some of us are in the shade, Some of us (like me!) are in the bright bright sun, there are probably 5 or 6 different languages being spoken at the same time but you couldn’t find a friendlier bunch anywhere. Where else could you find a table of 10 people out for a meal in a local tavern, 6 of whom are disabled, either wheelchair users, use a scooter, have had a stroke or battle with MS.
We all have our challenges but all of us smiling laughing and having a ball!
Here we are not ‘the girl in the wheelchair’, ‘the boy in the frame’, ‘the woman who can’t talk’ or ‘the boy who can’t move’, we’re just ourselves, trying to have a great holiday, just like everyone else.“
If there is ever a place which proves that love exists and that by simply adapting the world around us, disabled people can defeat any and all obstacles then that place is here.”
A smile returns to my face thinking of our holiday and I can’t wait to get back there, back to the sunshine, back to the wonderful welcome and back to the friends we’ve made there. It really is a magical place. Now if it can be done in a small corner of Cyprus, why can’t we do it here……..???