Yadder Guillen holds a special chess set designed for players who are blind.

The Special Needs Committee recently received a donation of over 50 different kinds of tips for canes for the blind from a company in Canada (Ambutech).  Alan Kirk, who has visited Ometepe several times during the past three years conducting workshops in orientation and mobility for the blind, arranged for this donation.

On his most recent visit to the island in January, Alan also delivered a number of collapsible canes that he personally donated. While in the U.S. many blind people use just the common pointed tip, having a variety of tips to use is very helpful in the rural environment found in many places on Ometepe.  A  small “ball” on the end of the cane makes it easier to navigate where surfaces are a little uneven, like in a local park, while a larger ball on the end will roll over roots or rocks in the trail.   Having a collapsible cane and and the ability to select a tip that is appropriate for the given situation gives people in the blind community on Ometepe the confidence to move around in a larger environment. They can visit friends and relatives, shop, attend our classes in Braille and computer use, and learn how to use the iPhones we loan to gain access to useful technology and an extensive audio book library.  

We will deliver the tips when the next BOSIA delegation visits the island.  Alan also trained a local Ometepino, Ernesto Flores, to continue the workshops in orientation and mobility on a regular basis, and he is working to have other colleagues who work professionally in this field to visit the island in the future.