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20/04/2010

Sarah Newman is visually-impaired and stranded in Tokyo due to volcanic ash. Ellen Bassani was raised as sighted and tells her story. Mani Djazmi on blind football.

Sarah Newman talks to Peter from her hotel room where she has been stranded for the past few days, as a result of volcanic ash. She talks of the problems she faces in a country where she speaks only a smattering of Japanese and can't read any of the signs.
Ellen Bassani is blind but was raised as a sighted child, because her parents were unable to accept her disability. She tells Peter her extraordinary story, including the incident that made her decide to use a white cane: Ellen went to her dentist and was used to following the white blur which was the dental nurse, taking her into the surgery, where she would hear the dentist say hello and then track his voice to find her way to the chair.
On this occasion, she followed the white blur, but then heard nothing.
Assuming the dentist had popped out of the surgery for a moment, she stood still. Eventually an angry voice said 'well aren't you going to sit down?' Ellen apologised and explained she couldn't see. The dentist then told her he thought that from her demeanour she was either a bit odd or a bit shifty. At that point, Ellen decided to use a cane as she'd rather be seen as blind.
Mani Djazmi reports from Hereford on the draw for the blind world championships.

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20 minutes

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Tue 20 Apr 2010 20:40

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