Defying odds despite disability
BEING BLIND SHOULD never be seen as a handicap.
And for 69-year-old Victor Husbands, who was born blind, it has never held him back in any form or fashion.
He uses his hands to “see”.
Husbands, who was employed at Bartel Communications Inc. from 1969 to 2001, worked servicing all landline telephones by taking them apart, polishing them and putting them back together.
He said he could do anything he was tasked with, despite his disability.
“I would take it right down, polish it and after I put it back up it would look like a brand new phone that not even the customer would be able to tell it was a phone that was repaired,” he said.
After he left Bartel, he moved to Zephirin’s Bakeries in Tudor Street, The City, where he worked as a dishwasher cleaning baking pans and crates.
“I used to work half day, but always used to put in a day’s work. I would have two sets of crates and three sheets of baking pans to wash and I did them all by myself. The men used to stand behind me and watch me work,” he said proudly.
Now the retired dishwasher and service technician of Scarborough, Christ Church works in Oistins selling snacks and drinks.
He is indeed a sight to behold as he stacks his table and packed cooler with his wares on top of his head, with his tray slung over his left hand as he walks down the street, where he sells just opposite the Oistins Police Station. But there is more to the father and grandfather of two than meets the eye.
Husbands boasts that he has dug three wells in his life.
The first well he dug was for a friend who had hired a technician to do the job, but it was not done properly.
So, armed with his ten-pound sledgehammer and cold chisel, he did the job.
He then ventured to dig two more on his premises.
Giving a demonstration of how he used his tools, he swung his head to the left as he raised his right hand over his head with the hammer in hand and brought it down to connect with the head of the chisel to create an indentation that would eventually split the flint rock.
“When I first had [the sledgehammer], I couldn’t lift it with one hand, so I used to sit in the well and practice until I got it right. The well is six-feet wide and square so I had a lot of room to practice. But I have to be careful because I cannot afford to miss,” he said matter-of factly.
Asked how long it took to dig the well in his backyard, he said the 29-foot well took him “a long time to finish”, a feat that he is proud of as he did it without any help.
Husbands can also cook and bake and in addition to raising chickens and turkeys around Christmas time for some extra income, he has learnt to cane chairs at the Blind Workshop on Beckles Road in St Michael.
“I built the two-storey coop that my birds are in in the backyard and I raise them by myself,” he said, pointing to the back of the house before again showing how he canes chairs brought to him by those who need them repaired.
But despite being self-sufficient, Husbands is saddened by the stigma attached out to him and others with disabilities.
“We are normal people despite not being able to see. I could cook, clean, and fix anything myself. I catch the bus and go where I have to go because I am a very busy man. The only place I don’t go alone is in town, I usually get somebody to go with me.
“Don’t care what I do, people still see me as a blind man. People believe that when you are blind that you are nobody. I used to feel bad when I was younger, but now I don’t feel any way about it. I didn’t do this to myself so there is nothing I can do to change it. There are those who see me as a normal man so I appreciate that they accept me for who I am,” he said smiling.