AT INNOVATION, LOVE IS (NOT) BLIND
On 12 November 2022, with the picturesque Matroosberg mountains as backdrop, two residents of Innovation for the Blind promised to love and cherish each other forever. How did the love story of Michael and Amanda Boyes start? Well, with a pandemic, many WhatsApp messages and two goofy Labradors of course.
Their love was not a love at first sight, but rather a love built on shared interests, mutual respect, and trust. Amanda, who came to Innovation in 2006, was living in Jack Pauw Home, our home for women with visual impairments and married couples. For the past 16 years she has been working in our General Projects Department, where we have several different projects, from cane manufacturing, to cleaning irrigation parts for a local broiler farm, to manufacturing arts and crafts, and small gifts for local markets and our shop, as well as packaging work. It is not often you see Amanda without Jackie, Jack Pauw Home’s Labrador, by her side. Michael, who has only been with Innovation since 2019, is happily part of our own Groundskeeping Team, completely supervised by and consisting of residents with visual impairments. Michael, living in our home for men with visual impairments, quickly formed a bond with Divvie, De Villiers Home’s Labrador. We think it’s safe to assume that these two dogs obviously (successfully) conspired to bring their pseudo-parents together.
Today, Michael and Amanda are blissfully living together in Jack Pauw Home, along with their African Grey, Tokkie, their Cockatiel, Liefie, and Jackie – Divvie visits them every weekend. They feel blessed to finally share a home after being together for almost 3 years, and spend their free time walking around Worcester, taking care of their animals and keeping their four succulents alive – something Michael is teaching Amanda to do with the patience of a saint, according to her. Amanda describes her husband as being kind, patient and always willing to help anybody. Michael, a man of few words but significant action, describes Amanda in one word – loving. All residents, staff and visitors of Innovation can attest to this description of a woman who so affectionately calls each person she meets “liefde”.
Here at Innovation for the Blind, we strive to empower persons with visual impairments to experience quality of life, reach maximal levels of independence and to cultivate strong relationships, like Michael and Amanda. To find out how your love can make a difference in the lives of persons with visual impairments, contact us on 023 347 2745, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website www.innovationfortheblind.org