Ideas on paper

Thoughts by José Luis Agell

Ivanna’s drive

I generally enjoy long flights because it’s a great moment to stop, take distance from reality and think. But I also like talking to the person next to me. Flying from San Francisco to Europe has always given me the opportunity to meet very interesting people. It is kind of magical to exchange experiences and insights with somebody you just met and you probably won’t see again in your life.

Last week, on a flight to Paris, I had the great pleasure to meet Ivanna. She’s a in her thirties and has cerebral palsy. Despite her difficulty to talk and blindness, she studied Political Sciences at the San Francisco State University, with the help of her classmates who spent the evenings with her reading through the books and notes. Moreover, she’s passionate about culture and languages. Besides English, her mother-tongue, she’s fluent in Spanish, French and Croatian (her parents come from Croatia).

We had a fabulous conversation about our lives, trips and the way we see the world.  She mentioned that she’s concerned about the way society treats  people with functional diversity. She’s often felt upset when people have underestimated her capacities. She says this is one of the reasons why people in these conditions loose the stimuli to succeed.

However, Ivanna believes in a future with a better integration. I am sure her  testimonial will help get to this point. She knows that she has lots to offer to the world. And she’s right, because we should all learn from her energy to overcome the obstacles and pursue her dream.

Thanks so much Ivanna for sharing so many experiences with me. I won’t forget our conversation.

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