On April 7, 2018, Colorado Vincentian Volunteers had the pleasure of hosting The Blind Café Experience for about 70 of our incredible #CVVAlum and current volunteers. It was a powerful evening of dinner in the dark, rich conversation, an active music listening experience, and of course, lots of companionship. It was all held entirely in 100% darkness with no blindfolds and facilitated by the Blind Ambassadors.
We hope you enjoy reading these reflections from the night of this unique and unforgettable experience.
Most of us came into the evening with only a faint idea of what to expect. I tried to let go of my expectations entirely. Be present. Be aware. Let the experience come to me. Don’t miss anything.
Forced to get up and use the restroom, I had to miss something. Ironically, this is when the most memorable moment occurred. We were instructed beforehand that if we needed to leave the dark room for any reason, we had to call for a blind ambassador to escort us out. Otherwise, we might accidentally allow light to seep into the pitch-black room, contaminating the experience for others.
I called the name of one of the Blind Ambassadors, “Esha.” She responded, “How can I help? Place your hand on my shoulder. I will lead the way.” I got up from my chair and like a child walking either fearfully or wonderfully in the dark, reached out to carefully feel for my surroundings, and found Esha’s shoulder. In that moment, I felt like a lost sheep comforted by its shepherd.
How often do I go through life stumbling around – in complete daylight – because I am not willing to let go of control? Or how often, by not listening fully or not paying attention, do I miss what is in fact, directly in front of me?
by R.J. Toledo, CVV Staff Member and VSC West Alum.