When you see Matera with the eyes of heart

At the first telephone contact it had seemed one of the many requests for availability that I receive daily. “Some friends who had you as a guide arecommended us to call you, we would like to have you as a guide in Matera for a full day. We are 3 friends from different cities of Italy who occasionally meet to travel together. Would you make us a program? “. I begin to give all the necessary information and answer her questions. But as the conversation goes on I feel that in that voice there is something different, perhaps special. And indeed … “two of us are blind, one is me” … I remain frozen for a moment, a second of silence that seemed infinite to me. I couldn’t hide my embarrassment. In ten years of career I have accompanied people of all the countries and ethnicities, of all ages and religions, once even a disabled person in a wheelchair, but never blind ones. Then when a few days later they confirm the service, I have a moment of hesitation, caught by the fear of not being up to it. But finally I accept: to refuse would have been a great defeat.

The fateful day is approaching and the concern is rising, mixed with tension. But in an instant it melts in the exact moment when we meet in front of their hotel entrance: three nice and personable ladies, with a wide and bright smile that will accompany me all day long. They had sensed my state of mind and it almost seems that they welcome me: and it’s actually like this, they make me feel immediately at ease. We spend a beautiful day together, the joy of being able to make them “see” the extraordinary beauties of Matera, to make it appreciate and love only with words – and where possible by touching – far exceeds the effort to make up for the absence of images.

Stefania, Niccoletta e Anna with me in Matera

The challenge – because this was – was largely won: at the end of the day I feel grown and enriched, as a professional but even more as a person. And I will be always grateful for this to Stefania, my interlocutor since the first telephone contact, Nicoletta and Anna, their seeing “guide”. They met thanks to the Associazione Disabili Visivi Onlus and often travel together to Italy and the world. This time they had chosen Matera, where they had never been. And they have been pleasantly overwhelmed by its energy, its magical atmosphere. Which allows everyone to see it, especially with the eyes of the heart.

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