“One day I met this boy in the community where I used to live. His name was Oscar. The locals called him ‘loco’ because he never spoke. I took the time to get to know him and soon I found out Oscar wasn’t crazy. He couldn’t speak because he was deaf. I wanted to do something for Oscar. I bought him a hearing aid, but most of all, I wanted him to lead a normal life. I searched for information about teaching a deaf person how to speak. I was a chef in a restaurant and Oscar helped me in the kitchen. While we were cooking I taught him vocabulary. We developed a strong connection. My experience with Oscar inspired me to explore more kinds of disabilities. In my spare time I volunteered in a school for children with special needs. I found out that our education system for people with disabilities doesn’t guarantee professional opportunities. I felt the need to change that.
I did the impossible by setting up a hammock workshop for blind people. The idea was provocative and the first hammocks we made were dreadful but it paid of. After three years of practice we now make the best quality hammocks in the entire region. Recently we even made one for pope Franciscus. A few years ago we also opened café de Las Sonrisas, which gives deaf people the opportunity to be a waiter in our restaurant. We employ more than 46 people with disabilities. Knowing that this makes a difference in so many peoples lives gets me up every morning.”
Nicaragua – Granada
While we were in Tio Antonio’s workshop/café we made a video clip. You
can check it out here: