I was three years old when I went to Sunrise Home in Manurewa and I lived there until I was eight. Then I went to live at Homai College – it was for all the blind people.
I went to Mangere Hospital when I was around 14 years of age. I used to go from Mangere Hospital to Mt Richmond School in a taxi. I had to go to dances and the pictures when I was living there.
The worst thing for me at Mangere Hospital was that I used to get pushed over by other patients. One of them broke my elbow once.
I use a fold-up cane to help me get around these days, but when I was at Mangere Hospital I didn’t have anything to help me – I had to hold onto someone’s arm to move around. If there was no one to hold onto, I’d have to wait.
At 19 years old, I went to St John’s to live. When I was over in St John’s, I wasn’t able to get up until I was told.
That wasn’t good. Staff came and told us all when to get up and have a shower and shave and have breakfast…
We only had a little bit of choice – not much. You weren’t allowed to go into the dining room unless you were told.
Now at Mangere Road it’s different. We just get up when we choose.
I used to stay in the wing all day and the doors used to get locked. I didn’t like that. We were locked in at night, too. I just had to leave it, that’s all. I just moved out. I was happy to leave St John’s.
I went to Mangere Road in 1991. At Mangere Road, I like to listen to music on the radio – rock’n’roll. I won a certificate once when I danced to the music ‘Brown girl in the rain’.
I like to go out and the Foundation of the Blind is my favourite place. They have talking scales there and talking phones!
I’m more confident and don’t need people to help me as much. I find it easier because it’s nice and quiet, and easier to find my way around.
Every year, I have an ‘Outcomes’ meeting and they bring up goals. I like the Outcomes meeting. That’ll be in November, I think. I was asked what goals I might bring up. That mystery trip! I’ve talked to Cilla (Service Coordinator) about the mystery trip.
I miss working and, while I can’t do lots of things, I do like to help out. I’ve helped out in the institutions and now at Mangere Road.
I’m happy where I’m living. The best thing is being with the men at my house.
I’ve done very well.
Excerpt from “Extraordinary Journeys – 12 extraordinary people retrace their journeys from institutional care to supported community living…”
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© Spectrum Care Trust Board
Published by Spectrum Care Trust Board