I currently work and live in China and do not have my family or close friends from South Africa around me, as a result my support comes from the new friends I have made at my current school, they are both the International School teachers (who are in the same boat as me) and the Chinese teachers. Having the support of these newly made friends, helps one feel a little less lonely and you almost become like a family, as we are all reliant on each other. However it is a bit difficult at times to see the same people at work and after hours too, as we are a newly established school and very few foreigners live in our area. I am not sure what I would do without the Chinese teachers as they help us to communicate, buy food, translate, get transportation, order food at a restaurant and help us fulfill many other basic human needs. I would be feel very lost, probably depressed, isolated and lonely in China, if I did not have all these people around me.
If I was to think of not having a part of my body e.g. a leg, which can easily happen to so many of us, I would need a lot of support from friends and family around me. Simple things in life that we take for granted can now become difficult, for example:
- How do I learn to begin to walk again?
- How do I get in and out of a bath or shower?
- How do I ride a bicycle, ice-skate, rollerblade, stand in a queue for long hours.
The support that I would need in my daily life and help me overcome the above challenges and many more, would be having a home that is easily accessible using a wheel chair or crutches, I would need someone to drive me around to buy the things I need, I would probably need support, care and love from friends and family, I would have to have a job that would require more sitting than standing, I would need help to get in and out of the pool to swim (which is my favourite sport). I would need support in every area of my life!
The support would encourage me to continue to become more mobile, not settle for “I cannot do this.”The support can help me overcome the negative thoughts of “I am not so beautiful anymore? Who would want a women with one leg?” The support will therefore help me emotionally and build my self-esteem. If I did not have the support, I would be excluded and isolated from the world around me, I would be depressed, probably not have the will to live and do fun things. It would be very difficult to live a life with no support being ‘disabled’.