Ranveig on a tour of a building. Image copyright © MaMoMi initiative 2012.
Choosing to mentor anyone takes a fair amount of belief in oneself and it
is remarkable that Ranveig Bredesen feels the need to inspire or guide
other people. In her words, she says “it is important to share role-model
Ranveig has never had any sight as she was born totally blind. I met her in
July 2012 when she visited London from Norway, and requested a tour to a
Museum. In Oslo, where Ranveig is from, there are quite a few blind people
gathered in small communities around town, while others live more solitary.
Her perception is that blind people often are viewed as pretty regular folk but
there is sometimes quite a bit of fuss the first time a sighted person meets a
blind person. Well, at least that is what she has observed.
Interestingly, there is also the question of how visually impaired or blind
people view sighted people. Ranveig asks, “Is there an expectation for
to be our helpers and servants, or are we expecting them to simply be our
friends? (or hopefully, something in between).”
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” – William Blake
Identifying things and Moving around.
When asked how she perceives things, Ranveig says she uses her hearing quite
a bit, listening to how cars, people and other objects are moving, as this tells
a lot about the room and space. With tactile process of feeling walls and
doorways with her hands, and the ground using a cane, she can feel the
difference between stone, grass, carpet and other surfaces. The angular
terrain of fields helps her identify hills and steps, although that becomes a
little difficult after a snowfall or severe weather.
She has also found ways to label her household items,e.g. by fastening a small
transparent piece of tape, cut in a specific shape, on the back of her mobile
phone or on her mobile phone charger. She also uses tape or hairbands to show
a difference between her hair shampoo and hair conditioner. “I could make
three tiny cuts at the shaft of my rubber-boot (not visible to others), or use
a small file to make small marks at the bottom of reusable plastic cups.”
Tips for success.
When asked what her best tips for her success so far, she says “Just ask for
help when you need it. Also, try helping others with the experience you have.
Remember, No question is stupid. Also, find a place where you feel secure
enough to let your guard down, a place where you can cry if you need to.
When the sorrow of a situation is gone, learn from any mistakes, even laugh
at them, and think how you can do things differently next time. If a failure
comes (and it will at some point), think of how well you solved it, once you
Ranveig says it is a good thing to “be honest about your challenges, but also
see the opportunities that may lie within those challenges.” She knows that
getting lost can be a very discouraging experience for any blind person,
when you make the effort to know a new area. Interestingly, she has found
that asking people for help can also lead to new lasting friendships.
On the question of her goals and objectives for the future, foremost on her
mind is finishing her masters degree, and equally important is that she
remains in a position where she can continue to inspire others and live her
life as well as she can.
Seeing with the voice of joy is a positive outlook to life, one more of us