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Marcin Sochacki (Wanted) Blog, Internet, Technology

» Paweł wants to climb Aconcagua

A couple of days ago my friend Paweł Urbański set off for an expedition to climb the highest peak in South America – Aconcagua (6959 metres). The simple fact of participating in such an undertaking deserves recognition, but the real surprise for those who don't know Paweł is the fact, that he has been blind for the last 11 years. He chose a very difficult challenge, but it is achievable – he travels with an experienced team of colleagues and what's more importantant, he is likes overcoming all kinds of barriers a lot.

Paweł is getting ready for Aconcagua expedition

Paweł is getting ready for Aconcagua expedition

Few people realise how many barriers our life has created for disabled persons; but the most determined ones manage to achieve success and they function normally in the society.

I had my first contact with blind people while working at the University of Gdańsk. One can list some bad aspects about that university but a very positive one is the fact, that disabled people are welcome to study there and they get significant help. At that time I was in contact with Dr. Jurand Czermiński, with whom we were cooperating on the “University without Barriers” project. My job was to offer computer support, because a computer and Internet are the absolutely basic tools for blind people today. Without them blind were in many cases doomed to unemployment or mediocre jobs; their abillity to contact the outside world was very limited. On the other had, thanks to computers they can read, write and work much easier and cheaper. For instance, books in Braille alphabet do indeed exist, but they are very expensive and few works were published this way. The set consisting of a PC, scanner, OCR software and speech synthesizer is cheaper and universal – one can scan any book at will. Internet access opens up the ability to communicate easily and the possibility to work at home.

Paweł is one of the students of the Faculty of Economics, who joined the university supported by the above mentioned project. The place I used to work happened to be very close to his dorm, so we met frequently, e.g. when connecting his computer to the Internet or having lunch together at the famous students' canteen, known to some as “The Poisoner” :-) He's doing well with the studies and his PC knowledge is so good, that he became sort of a local expert for fixing typical Windows problems :-) Recently he started working for Oracle as a workflow analyst and Java engineer.

All that's left now is to with Paweł lots of luck with the expedition and realization of all his ambitious plans.

Update (2007-02-13):
“Greetings for everyone from Mendoza! We came down from the Mountain. I feel very well. On Friday we'll start our journey back to Poland. The expedition was very successful. Best wishes
Pawel”

More information (in Polish):

2007/02/13 14:58 | places/aconcagua/

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