Everything is so pretty here in Bali. Even though so much is built of bare concrete, it is soon covered in vivid green moss that thrives in the dampness. However, with one foul swoop, the much famed Balinese style achieves total baby unsafeness, and almost total wheelchair inaccessibility.
Check out the doorway beside Snowy. It is too narrow for a wheelchair, and it has a hoofing great step to get over.
Check out these steps! These are pretty typical, they are everywhere.
What about the baby? Well, we moved into this gorgeous house, in a family compound. It has lovely rice paddy views, and frangipani trees galore. Check out the sheer drop off the front porch! And Baby Boy learnt to climb out these windows in just two days…. there’s hard concrete below. It’s fine for the family that lives here, there are three babies, and heaps of uncles, aunties and other people about all the time, those babies never get a moment to themselves. It doesn’t have to be safe.
The whole bathroom is designed for maximum slipperiness and hardness of tiles. The drain hole is in the opposite corner of the room to where the water comes out, ensuring as much of the floor as possible gets wet. Try learning to walk on that slippery floor little boy!
Every council in Australia would be horrified by this unfenced pool;
What about getting around?
The footpaths are just as dodgy as elsewhere in Asia. Good thing we have a chair that can handle them all – you’ll read about this in an up-coming post about what Sparky’s travel wheelchair can do.
There are uncessesary steps everywhere. While we were staying in this surf camp, these two steps were constructed, paved and decorated. Why?? The ground is the same level on the other side!!! The step just goes up, then down again!
Can you blame us for smiling when the hotel guys couldn’t get their own trolley through?
And don’t you just love irony of the writing on the step.
There are also many walls and tight corners which don’t seem structurally necessary. Wheelchair accessibility is not a consideration. It’s all about spirits, apparently bad spirits can only go in straight lines, so if you put a wall in the right place, you can stop them coming into your home compound. The steps, too, are to stop spirits from entering.
I’m all for respecting people’s rights to practice their religion, but I can’t help wondering if they believe that the bad spirits get about in wheelchairs? Or do they believe people in wheelchairs are the bad spirits? I don’t think so. People with disabilities just don’t come into the equation. They are invisible. Their needs were never part of the planning or implementation.
Just for the record, we won’t allow out daughter to be invisible, or silent. We support the push for universal design in architecture and education. We support the ideas of full access and inclusion. We are all for adaptive equipment, augmented communication and supported independance. We fully support the NDIS in Australia. All of these things should happen. They should have already happened. And we are so grateful to those making them all happen. But while we wait, we’ll try to give Sparky an extraordinary childhood anyway.
While we wait, and indeed, while we can, we do this:
If we waited for the world to suit us, we’d be waiting too long….