My treasured red plastic notebook ‘took one for the team’ the other day during our 6-day daily living-skills training program for the blind/visually-impaired (BVI). Sometimes life throws you a ‘curveball’ (or ‘googly’ in cricket) and you have to adapt, innovate and re-think. We had many such curveballs during the different skills-sessions and we deftly pivoted and slam-dunked the basketball each time (*note – be sure to ‘duck’ during the many sports metaphors!).

‘Red’- the name I frequently used to refer to my priceless red plastic notebook, had served me admirably for many weeks during my visit. Impervious to water, rough use and hot tea, ‘Red’ uncomplainingly did the job he was born to do until he met his untimely demise.

Here’s some background on how this tragic happening occurred:

One of basic skills we were teaching our BVI students was money identification and folding strategies, followed by a pretend shopping experience to give them a better idea of how it all comes together. One of our BVI lead-trainers, Sita Gyawali had a special leather money guide for the BVI. The money guide helps the BVI measure the different paper currency notes and determine which denomination is which. In Nepal each of the different currency notes is a different length, which makes it convenient for a BVI person to tell the difference. We had printed up some pretend currency in the proper dimensions and after a currency identification training session, we wanted to give the students a pretend shopping experience where they’d use their new skills to make pretend purchases (cookies, candy, crackers, etc.) in a low-pressure environment!

Our Dhulikhel Rotaract volunteers came up with the bright idea of making custom-cut money guides out of plastic so that each of our students would have one to take home with them and use in the future. AND the plastic they determined would work best turned out to be ‘Red’! This came as a shock to both Red and myself. What to do? I didn’t want to let the kids down but Red and I had become very close during my visit to Nepal. Well, Red and I sat down and had a long talk about whether he was happy being just a notebook, a useful item for me, or whether he’d rather make new friends by becoming a set of 17 money guides, helping all of our BVI students. I think that Red made the right decision. Check out the photos and see for yourself!