My name is Rahim and I was one of the hosts for NCBI’s recent Dine in the Dark preview evening in Dublin’s Fade Street Social.
I didn’t really know what to expect and I was a little nervous, particularly in a completely new environment. I have 5% vision in one eye and no vision in the other eye.
My task for the evening was to guide sighted diners to their tables. Now, you’re probably wondering why I would be guiding sighted diners to their tables, since they can see more than I can. Well for the evening in question they were blind folded, as part of NCBI’s Dine in the Dark campaign, and were guided to their tables for the meal under blindfold.
I struggle to get around in dark areas because of my sight and, like most bars and restaurants, the lighting levels were low in Fade Street Social. I walked around the dining area a few times to familiarise myself with my surroundings.
I really wanted to pull this off without making any mistakes as the diners were food bloggers who would be blogging about their experience of attending the NCBI’s Dine in the Dark experience.
The tables had turned then when it was my turn to be introduced to the blindfolded diners and guide them to their tables, rather than it being the other way around.
I guided a group of six people to their table which was the far side of the room. Guiding a train of six people who have never been blind folded before was certainly challenging. I managed to place them in their seats and told them where their plates and glasses were positioned on the table. We also chatted about their surroundings so they could acclimatise. And I became more comfortable with my new guiding role as the night went on.
During the evening I approached the tables and chatted to the diners who asked me questions about my life. I was glad to talk to people about my work, pastimes and any question they had about life on a daily basis. I think it’s important for people to ask questions about vision impairment or any disability to break down any barriers to misconceptions in society.
Rahim Nazarali lives in Clongriffin, Dublin 13. He works part-time as Liaison Officer for the Irish Wheelchair Association, where he works with students, placing them in to further education courses and work placements as well as teaching life skills.
Rahim also works with athletes, sports people and clubs as a remedial sports therapist. He is the vice chair of VisionSports Ireland.