El Hierro

2 11 2019

Summer is but a memory. On this 1st of November it seems far gone, and as we´re nearing the end of the year I can´t help thinking how extremely fast a whole year passes, watching the seasons fly by while we run round after round, like Ben Hur on his quadriga in the Roman Circus.

We spent a short summer holiday week on El Hierro. A short week, because we went by boat, with car and dog, and the boat leaves in the late afternoon and departs back to Tenerife around 3 pm. It´s a 2,5 hour boat trip; we arrived at our holiday house on Monday at 9 pm and departed on Sunday around noon, that leaves only a full 5 days on the island.

El Hierro used to be the smallest island of the Canarian Archipelago, up until recently, when there were 7 official islands. In June 2018, La Graciosa was added as an official 8th Canary Island with a permanent population of 730 inhabitants, making it the smallest island. El Hierro was long thought to be the western most spot of the known world and the zero meridian passed through the island until 1884 when it was established in Greenwich, UK.

El Hierro has a population of 10.000 inhabitants. It was our honeymoon destination in 2002. We spent 4 days in one of the smallest hotels in the world. It used to be in the Guiness Book of Records as it had only 1 room. When we stayed in 2002, it had already lost that title as they had expanded and added 1 room.

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On El Hierro everything has a slower pace. People know each other. Traffic is scarce. The landscape is almost prehistoric. It´s like Tenerife but tiny and say 70 years back in time.

This is the Charco de la Maceta, very near to where we were staying, in fact Yone and I hiked there once, a 25 minute walk, a swim, and a 25 minute walk back to the house.

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Our house was in El Golfo, near the town of Frontera, on the North-Western part of the island.

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We visited the village of Sabinosa and payed hommage to Valentina at her tomb, one of the most important figures in Canarian folclore:

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We visited a lava tube:

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And some dear friends who decided to pace down their lives by moving to El Hierro, Marianne and Jimmy:

It was a beautiful, peaceful holiday and we´re definitely going back!

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Dácil & Bea

10 10 2019

Dácil misses Bea and Bea misses Dácil.

Luckily they meet twice a week in the afternoon for an hour of logopedia, which has lately turned into half an hour of cuddling and kissing and half an hour of logopedia. Lately, since Bea isn’t Dácil’s intervenor anymore and they don’t work together in school. We’re still waiting for answers.

Meanwhile;





Yone is 15

9 10 2019

No fancy celebrations on this regular Wednesday in the middle of the week. However we all travelled to our island´s capital to attend the Experience 5.0 Presentation Gala. The short films in which Yone participated last summer during a cinematography workshop were ceremoniously presented this evening, all parents, siblings and grandparents invited.

There were two groups of around 20 kids who both filmed and edited a short movie, which they wrote the script for and starred in. All team work.

And they did some sound experiments: dubbing a scene from Notting Hill and another from Inside Out, and creating a soundtrack for an animated short.

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Dácil goes back to school

12 09 2019

For most children and parents, going back to school is fun. The first days of school are joyous moments where kids tell each other their summer adventures. New pencils are bought, a new rucksack maybe, blank notebooks with immaculate pages. Maybe there are new children who need to be shown around. Maybe there´s a new teacher…

Exciting. Fun.

For us it is the most stressful time of the year. We are kept in the dark by the ONCE and the FOAPS (organizations for blind and deafblind persons respectively) about how many hours the intervenor will accompany Dácil at school for the most part of summer. At some point we get a notification with way too few hours, we complain, we wait, we usually lose…

This year is special. What is going on right now is unprecedented. Dácil has lots of changes at school. Classes have been rearranged to fit all disabled children in 2 groups max. That means that teachers have been sacked or relocated. Her teacher from the last 2 years has left. The assistant to the teacher is also new. Neither of them sign or know how to communicate with Dácil. The teacher who practiced walking with the cane has retired. He too has been replaced by a new teacher.

Today is Dácil´s 4th day in school. There is no intervenor. Bea received a phonecall this morning that she will no longer be Dácil´s intervenor. Nobody is answering our phonecalls. We are quite lost. I imagine so is Dácil. She still has logopedia with Bea (outside of school hours and in a different place) and when she first encountered Bea last Tuesday she signed ´school´ and ´class´, as if asking why she wasn´t there in the morning.

It doesn´t look good. It stinks of institutional incompetence and people not doing the jobs they are paid to do. I wonder what they think to achieve separating Dácil from the intervenor who has been at her side for 7 years and with whom she has a strong bond. What crap they propagate telling the world how they improve people´s lives and do everything possible to include the visually impaired in society. Well, not here. For Dácil it´s definitely not working.

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Dácil explores the coast

28 08 2019

And while Yone is out exploring the depths of the Ocean, we took Dácil on a tour along the hidden gems of Tenerife´s coastline.

Yone´d have his diving course in the afternoon. We´d drop him off in Buenavista del Norte, the far most western town along the north coast. From there he´d join instructor Borja and ´classmate´ Miguel and drive in Borja´s van to Teno.

Meanwhile Jorge, Dácil and I would find a ´charquito´, a natural lava basin, for swimming and chilling. There are a number of charquitos in the area which I had never visited.

On day 1 we went to Playa de la Arena, near Buenavista Golf course, with a sand beach, an area with rocks and little ponds and a restaurant with spectacular views:

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The next day we swam in ´El charco de las mujeres´. As it was low tide and not much fresh seawater comes in, the water was quite warm and very salty. After a leisurely swim we visited the town of Buenavista del Norte, waiting for Yone to return.

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Day 3 was the last day. Jorge was working so it was just Dácil and me. Yone and Borja went on their last dive to Los Silos, home to an impressive sculpture by Portuguese artist Bordalo II :

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Dácil and I took our first swim in the ´charco de los chochos´. All of these natural lava pools are a challenge to access with Dácil, but once there it´s worth the trouble of hauling towels and daughter down rocks and steps…

For Dácil, 1 swim is not enough, so we jumped in the car and drove along the coast and found these little pebbled beaches, hidden away, without people…

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Yone is a certified diver

28 08 2019

It all started years ago in our pool. Sacha told me to watch it with diving as it can be highly addictive. Last year Yone went on a tourist excursion diving with my niece Petka and her boyfriend Luki. He loved it. And this year we decided we´d forward his 15th birthday gift and send him off to do a diving course.

Sacha recommended Tenosub. He said it was preferable to find a good instructor, someone empathetic and fun and serious, than to worry about international certifications (padi, ssi, etc…) And he was right about Borja. Yone certainly was lucky to have Borja teach him the ways of the ocean.

So now that the boy can sail the Atlantic Ocean, he is also certified to dive with a companion, up to 18 metres.

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BEA

30 07 2019

There are no words to describe what Bea, Dácil´s intervenor, mentor, sign language interpreter, friend, means to our family. She came into our lives 7 years ago, in February 2012, when Dácil was still at CREVO. All of Dácil´s achievements are because of her.

Every year, in June, we get notified about the number of hours the ONCE (or in Dácil´s case, the FOAPS – the foundation in charge of deafblind persons, attached to the ONCE) grants Dácil with her intervenor. Bea gets paid by the FOAPS to be with Dácil. The maximum number of hours for school would be 25 per week: 5 hours, 5 days. We´ve never been granted the full school week with Bea. 2 years ago we got 20 hours, which Bea spread over 5 days. But the lady who fought for Dácil´s 20 hours has been replaced and we´re back to 15 hours. 5 hours for 3 days. Which means she is without Bea during 2 school days. Sadly, it´s all about money.

Last Thursday Bea got a phone call from her employer with the message that as from September she would no longer have Dácil. She´d get another ´patient´ and Dácil´d be appointed another intervenor.

Bea hasn´t slept since. She told us yesterday. We haven´t slept since either.

We were wondering if any of these people have ever seen the film ´the miracle worker´ or know the story about Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. We were wondering if any of this makes sense. We telephoned people at the ONCE and at FOAPS, but no one answered.   Everyone is on vacation. We´ll have to wait until September. But boy, will we unleash some shit to keep Bea and Dácil together!