There’s an exciting football match underway between the boys and the girls in the schoolyard. Manuel is the coach of the boys’ team, ‘Grilo’, and shouts instructions to Samuel, who is the team captain. Beside Manuel is Augusto Silva the English teacher, who is coaching the girls in their team, ‘N’goringor’. As usual, it’s a life and death match!
“Almost all the players are blind. So we use an old soda bottle as our ‘ball’, because we need to be able to hear the ball to play. If we use an ordinary football then we have to put it in a plastic bag so we can hear it rustling. I prefer the ball to the bottle! We need to play here in the schoolyard, which is surrounded by walls, so that everybody knows where the ball is,” explains Samuel. Even the two blind coaches listen out for the ball, so that they can give instructions to their players. “Today the boys won 7-4, but next time we’ll get them!” says Domingas, laughing.
“Samuel and I are friends. We often play football at break time and help each other with difficult assignments in maths and science. Both blind and seeing children go to our school. I don’t really think there’s any difference between us. We are all the same. For me, it’s obvious that blind children should be able to go to school too. Here in Guinea-Bissau, sometimes its harder for children with a disability to go to school, because the schools have not been adapted to these children’s needs. This is wrong. All schools should be suitable for all children to attend, just like our school. If you don’t go to school it’s hard to get a job and take care of your family. When I grow up I want to be a teacher.” Germindo, 15