Darrin had been an electrician for fifteen years before one day that changed his life.

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Darrin: “May 4th of ’98, I’ll never forget it. We were on our lunch break, I walked over towards our park’s trailer. The crop dusting plane was spraying cotton fields and he flew over top of me and I just got soaked with the stuff. I didn’t think nothing of it, I just washed off my face and walked back to work and gradually throughout the next ten days I started getting this white dot in the center of my vision. I just thought it would be like a flew and I will get over it eventually. Within ten days after that I was blind. I couldn’t see anything at all.”

Later – much later – he got involved with Business Enterprise Program that give legally blind people an opportunity to run their own businesses. Today he has fifteen vending machines and he runs a coffee shop but it’s been a long journey.

Darrin: “I’m two different people. There’s Darrin before and then there’s the Darrin after I lost my eyesight.  I had to re-identify myself as a blind person and learn how to live as a blind person. Took me ten years to get all the rehab, independent living skills, finding out what I was capable of doing for employment. I didn’t want to be stereotyped into typical job of a blind person doing call centers and answering phones and stuff like that. I’m totally independent, I live alone. I can do anything that any sighted person can do and I can do it in the dark.

“Personally I don’t feel like I fit in the blind community and I don’t really fit in into the sighted community because I wasn’t born blind. For the first five or ten years I still had pictures I could still see in my head of what things looked like and as time goes by those pictures in my head are fading away of what things look like. You know, just missing somebody smiling at you or a sunset or a moon in the sky or… Those are the things that I took for granted when I did have sight. I always said I was going to visit the Grand Canyon. I can do that tomorrow, you know. And that day kinda… I never did get to see the Grand Canyon.

“It’s going on nineteen – almost twenty years of being blind. Over the years I’ve been taken advantage of. You know, I’ve slowly built up walls around me and closed doors just because I don’t want to be hurt anymore, taken advantage of, things being stolen from me. But I can’t just turn my back a hundred percent because there’s a lot of earthbound angels, I’d like to say that in the past twenty years have come in to my life, some for longer periods than others, helped me through difficult times without me even knowing that they were helping me if you understand what I mean by that.

“Couple of years down the road those people are not involved in your life but when you look back you’re like wow, I could not have made it without that person, you know, being involved in my life at that particular time.”

produced by Regina Revazova