Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Old man at St Luke's

Agios Loukas (St Luke) church houses the town's inner city cemetery. It is located on a street that approaches the town from the west. But that's not why I took the photo. I wanted to talk to you about the old man walking on the pavement. He leaves his house somewhere further down the road, and taps his way up the corner of the road just a few more steps ahead of him. Then he turns back down the same road he came up on, and walks back home. He does this two times a day, every day.

Whenever I walk along this road, I feel very happy to see him. He uses familiar landmarks that he has mapped out in his mind, like the lamp posts, electricity poles, the texture of the walls and gates that he passes, among other things. I got to know him a long time ago when I noticed he was tapping his stick on a car that had been parked on the footpath.

"Do you need any help?" I asked him.

"Oh, no, thanks, I'm fine," he answered. "It's just this car that's been parked here for a long time, and it's blocking my access to the rest of the road."

"Would you like me to help you maneuver your way round it?" I asked helpfully.

"No, thanks, no, I don't walk anywhere else except this stretch of road if it's clear of cars. I'm completely blind," he told me.

I'm still seeing him take his daily walk here, and I think that's a good sign. It means he hasn't moved home to St Luke's yet.


  1. καθημερινές συνήθειες που δίνουν νόημα στη ζωή. τόσο απλές και καμοιά φορά τόσο δύσκολες από αμέλεια μερικών. πολύ όμορφη περιγραφή

  2. fascinating story. :) i think i would be glad to see him too. gritty, what he does.

  3. Very touching.The habits of old men are those that give them life when they have nothing else to do.
    If they help them keep on living, so be it.

  4. Very coraugeous of him, not to give up on life just because he's blind.

  5. Right on yet again Med.Kiwi.

    One of the striking things in the UK (well, other places as well, but i have been staying here for some time to be able to observe this kind of things) is the level of access they have to everything.

    To cut a long story short, someone with a disability can leave on their own here. Independent, respected and equal...or rather, as equal as possible with others.

    Where can i start? Unblocked ramps to pavements everywhere, dented pavement tiles to guide the blind, sound enabled traffic lights, extra hearing aid equipment at all counters everywhere, ramps next to stairs, elevators, stair elevators (that work, not the locked type where the key is with the manager who is "absent today"), buses with ramps, taxi cabs with ramps and drivers who do not see it as a nuisance to get the people on board...

    Why should these people be excluded?

  6. What a wonderful spirit this man had. Most of us would have been upset, but he calmly takes life in stride.

  7. Hi MKiwi! Great post!
    also enjoyed reading your crisis post; at 27, the story of Portugal and Greece in the EU is no longer true... ;)
    Meanwhile, Blogtrotter has a Rhapsody in Blue post in an island close to you!! Not many words, just the rhapsody! Enjoy!

  8. What a great story and what fierce independence.

  9. I have seen him too and also he refused my help when it was offered. Maybe that is a good or bad thing, but I felt that he was settled in his environment and situation and would do what he wanted to do.

    He feels secure no matter how hard it is to believe. So ley him be, just say good day and he will smile.


  10. So nice, your telling of this story.

  11. I know you will be sad when you don't see him.