Thursday 10 October saw us mark World Sight Day 2013 by holding our inaugural “Blackout Dinner”. While eating delicious food in total darkness turned out to be exceptionally difficult, the challenge gave everyone a valuable insight into the daily struggles facing blind people and reminded them to cherish their gift of sight.
Seats for the dinner were limited and quickly over-subscribed with around 50 donors and guests aged 11 and up selected by lot. The evening was so shrouded in mystery that participants knew nothing about the four-course menu and various darkness-themed challenges in advance. Nor was anyone aware of our secret performer. Ultimately, the only things attendees could be sure of were the event’s date, time, venue and their own registration number. No wonder outside the restaurant where the dinner took place was abuzz with excitement!
While everyone gave eating in the dark their best shot, some diners’ forks failed to pierce anything on their plates except air! Others made a real mess of their tables with fallen food everywhere, still more said they felt like their meals never finished. Understanding that eating in total darkness is far from easy, diners went home seeing just how impossibly tough life must be for the blind.
Throughout the evening, participants also shouted out in anxiety when attempting simple challenges that were virtually impossible when undertaken unsighted! The evening’s “winners” were rewarded with limited-edition premium sets of ORBIS World Sight Day “Darkness To Go” pins but seemed far happier about their ability to survive in total darkness! The grand prize in the evening’s lucky draw was a not-for-sale ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital DC-10 model plane!
The other undisputed highlight of the night came with a touching singing performance from our secret guest. Only when their sight was “restored” did diners realize that the angelic tones they were hearing belonged to Michelle Siu, the blind girl who just received the 5th Hong Kong Volunteer Award and regularly donates her beautiful voice to ORBIS’ events. Moved by Michelle’s appeal, many attendees signed up as monthly donors so they could help even more blind people.
Our thanks to the diners, Michelle, our volunteer MC and everyone else whose support ensured this event was such a success. We hope you will continue joining us to bring sight to even more blind worldwide!