A young lady missing one arm stood in front of us. She was a former GETCH student, her name’s Miko and she would lead today’s workshop about “Independent living”. “Independent living”- you mean living independently? Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. Most people don’t notice it, but having a disability will restrict your everyday life. For example: you can’t get on toilet by yourself (physically disabled) or you might have no orientation and have no idea what happens around you (mentally disabled). Either way it seems to be a challenge to live alone. So here Miko stood in front of us and told us about her experiences and how there are two “models” in China, which try to solve those problems.
The two different models
The first one is the medical model. The focus here lies on the patient, the person itself. In this case, the person needs to change something about him-/herself through medical treatments or therapy. The second model is the social one. Its main goal is also to make one being able to live by him-/herself, but by changing the surrounding area of the affected person. So at the end of Miko’s presentation we were supposed to fill out a chart with given statements and then present our results. Which model do you think is better? I would say that it depends on the person. I personally would prefer getting fit first, because I know how it feels to walk and I still have chances to progress. But if someone is missing his/her legs and can’t grow them back, then he/she might feel that an adapted surrounding is the best solution.
A Tai Chi performance and twitches
The workshop ended with a Tai Chi performance that regularly made my spasticity soar. The man, Join Xin, started off with his Tai Chi moves so we were all watching spellbound and it was quiet as a mouse...and suddenly this man just starts making loud screams. I was so startled that I also flinched extremely due to the spasticity. This is also why I avoid horror movies. To all those who also have spasticity: do you also flinch this badly whenever you get startled? Feel free to leave me a comment 😀
Cabs also drive with open trunk sometimes
After that performance we were getting ready to go to the German consulate to present our project. So in order to get there, we had to use taxis. Unfortunately the wheelchair was always a little bit too big for the car trunk to be closed, so the drivers just let the trunk open and drove with that open trunk lid. I was so freaking worried that my wheelchair would fell out of that trunk and would get overrun. Seriously, you would too '^^
A visit to the German consulate
At the german consulate, we presented our project, the purpose and the goals to a german representative. It was so odd to hear a voice talking German beside our group members. Now we still had the evening to find a place to eat and then get back to the german consulate again for a movie-night. Why was there a movie night you might wonder? Well it was the 13th October and the German Unification Day was not too long ago (3rd October), therefor they had this movie-night. The consulate showed a german movie “Der geilste Tag” (eng. “The most awesome day”) with Chinese subtitles and afterwards you could get some snacks.
Three things I learned:
1) There exists two health systems in China: Social or medical model
2) Taxis will drive with an open trunk and still transport you and your wheelchair
3) It’s quiet lively on the streets at night