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In the article I wrote earlier about the Loo Erf, I already explained how important it can be for people to have training on how to adapt to life as a visually impared or blind person, and that it can be neccesary to learn new skills. The Loo erf is of course not the only organization that is here in the Netherlands with this goal. I am not a history teacher and I really don't know all the history and background facts, but the Robert Coppes Foundation which I will call coppes from now on, to save me from a lot of typing, has been designed for younger people who are blind or partly sighted and who want to learn how to live independantly by means of, and you can really guess this, living independantly with guidance. differently from Loo erf is that the rooms are larger and you also stay there during weekends. Loo Erf is not a place where you live, Coppes is.
the guides can help you with learning new skills such as cooking, cleaning, washing your clothes and such, or they can help you with things that you are simply not able to do well yourself, so if you have problems vacuming your floor they will help you, and they will also help you with reading your mail and doing your administration if that is something you need help with.
In the time frame where this was an important time of my life, there were actually 2 houses of the Coppes, one in the Aloyisuslaan and the other in the Steenweg, which is quite close to the train station and grocery store. There is also a smaller house in the Vijverhof where a few people live in a group with a little help of the guides.
A lot has changed with the Coppes and I really haven't kept up with all this. The same can be said by the way about the Loo Erf, which is by now undoubtedly very different from the way I knew it. the Steenweg is actually the most important part about the Coppes for my story, and here's why.
As i have told you, I have learned my skills at Loo Erf, and I have not lived on the Steenweg myself. i have for a very short moment considered the option of Coppes after my first 9 month period of Loo Erf was over, but it wasn't really my thing and then other things came my way. But my dearest 2 friends Alicey and phil have lived on the Steenweg for a little more than 4 years and this is where they fell in love and where they lived when they married. Steenweg is also the place where Phyality started and where we had our rehearsals during the first several years, until Alicey and Phil moved to their new home where they are still living now.
so I have always only been a guest at the Steenweg, but one that they saw there many times. Of course Steenweg wasn't always that great. I remember several incidents and disagreements with the guides and the location manager that weren't always very pleasant and were sometimes hard to deal with. But in general it was mostly a very big fun time where we got to know each other better, where I got to know Marielle and her doggies and where i have learned many things. It is an important part of my life and we also had many parties there. I am sure in a sense the guides were glad to see us leave, since we were sometimes able to turn the place upside down (as a figure of speach of course).
A lot of things about the Steenweg and the coppes have changed and I really also don't know all the history facts and ins and outs. I have found their website, but it is in Dutch I'm afraid. I will place it here anyway and if that doesn't help maybe you can google it....
Click here for the website of Steenweg
October 10th 2008
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