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 Defying odds, blind typist relishes decades-old career

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عدد المساهمات : 271
نقاط : 1415
السٌّمعَة : 1
تاريخ التسجيل : 08/09/2009
العمر : 24
الموقع : www.monster.goodbb.net

مُساهمةموضوع: Defying odds, blind typist relishes decades-old career   الخميس يناير 14, 2010 9:54 am









By Hani Hazaimeh


Work as a stenographer might not seem like an unlikely profession, but for many, Mohammad Ali Beireqdar’s five-decade career has been nothing short of remarkable.
The 69-year-old typist spends several hours each day on a card table on the sidewalk outside the Justice Palace, typing up legal forms and dictation for citizens. But one trait sets the Zarqa resident out among the dozens of other stenographers that line the street: He cannot see.
Beireqdar, who is clinically blind, has relied on his senses and a familiarity with the keyboard for the past 50 years.
Blind at an early age
Born in Madaba in 1941, Beireqdar lost his sight at the age of two when, left alone in his family home, he knocked over an oil lamp which caused an indoor fire.
“Back in the 1940s, many places were without electricity and most people at the time used oil lamps,” recalled the soft-spoken man, who prefers to be known as Abu Abdo.
The young Abu Abdo initially sustained severe burns to his face and hands, and his eyes received only minor injuries. Without immediate proper treatment, however, he developed a debilitating infection.
By the time Abu Abdo was admitted to the nearest hospital, doctors told his father that it was too late to save his sight. His father refused to give up, and set out seeking any medical help he could find.
“We heard about a Jewish doctor in Jerusalem called Abraham Ticho, who was specialised in eye surgery,” recalled the typist, who now resides in Zarqa.
“So my father decided to take me to the Holy City in hope that he could cure me and make me see again,” he said, noting that his father was “heartbroken” when the specialist advised him to “save his efforts and money”.
Despite the disability, Abu Abdo maintains that he never felt different from other children growing up and would often play with friends near his home.
When he turned 10, Abu Abdo approached the judge of the Sharia Court in Madaba to be allowed to join the Orphans’ Islamic School in Jerusalem, which at that time, had adopted the Braille system.
After receiving approval from the court, he and his father travelled to the West Bank and Abu Abdo started learning Islamic teachings as well as handicrafts production, such as making wooden chairs and brushes.
“My years at the school were enough for me to memorise the Holy Koran,” he added, highlighting that he was one of 14 blind children in the 300-student school.
After completing his education, Abu Abdo enrolled in a typing course at a community centre in Amman. His agility and ability to touch type were traits that not only sealed his future career as a court-based typist, but also led to praise from many judicial officials, who to this day recommend him to citizens.
Although most of his unlikely career has been “uneventful”, Abu Abdo remembers one incident very vividly - the bombing of the Prime Ministry in 1960 and the assassination of then-prime minister Hazaa Majali.
“The explosion happened just minutes before I was about to enter the Prime Ministry's premises, which was then located in downtown Amman. I was with another citizen for whom I had written a grievance,” he said.
Threatened by technology
While for most professions technology and progress is a sought-after and welcomed development, for the typist, modernity has been “a curse”.
“Ever since the Justice Ministry and the courts provided direct services to citizens and introduced new formats in their official writings, my work as a typist has declined by nearly 90 per cent," the father of nine remarked.
Many typists were able to tailor their services to fit the new fill-in-the-blank forms offered by the government. But Abu Abdo is unable to fill out the forms in shorthand due to his disability.
“My daily earnings used to be between JD5-8, which was enough to take care of my family. Things are much tougher now," said Abu Abdo, adding that his salary is now barely enough to cover his transportation expenses between Zarqa and Amman.
Despite his disability, Abu Abdo insists that he has never felt anything “missing” from his life and that a life full of daily challenges has made him committed to set an example in determination and self-reliance.
"Once you lose one sense, you are forced to develop other senses in order to offset the one that is lost,” he said as he prepared a document for another customer.
Even while faced with physical and economic hardships Abu Abdo remains philosophical, saying he finds peace in the familiarity of his work.
“Besides, staying at home all day would be boring,” he quipped

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Defying odds, blind typist relishes decades-old career
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