Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, composed when he was totally deaf, is considered one of the greatest classical pieces of all time. Disability did not hold him back.ifc

Beethoven was totally deaf by the age of 52. As his hearing became worse Beethoven struggled to communicate with people but the biggest challenge for him was conducting and performing in concerts, because he just couldn’t hear. It’s hard to believe that Ludwig could even function when he was totally deaf, never mind compose and conduct a world-class symphony.

And how about Helen Keller?  Helen contracted an illness when she was 18 months, which left her blind, deaf and mute, but she developed a limited way of communicating and created a basic form of sign language. She began a relationship with a woman called Anne Sullivan who became her guide and mentor, teaching her finger spelling and other ways of communicating.

Helen was the first deaf-blind person to achieve a Bachelor of Arts degree. She became a writer and communicated with millions of people around the world. She will be remembered for the endless work she did for people with disabilities. Here are three quotations from her that seem appropriate for this article: “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart,” “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much,” and “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

Imagine you are totally deaf in Puerto Vallarta and you are rushed to the hospital because you fell on the cobblestones. How do you tell the doctor what’s wrong? If you are a child in school, how do you let the teacher know what you know? How do you hear a fire alarm or a microwave’s “ping”? At the moment there is no help for the hundred and twenty totally deaf people in PV but there are plans to change that.

After many years of no financial support from government, the private sector or NGOs, the Centre For Training and Gathering of the Deaf is being resurrected in Puerto Vallarta. The Eco Rotaract Club has seventeen members, seven of whom are hearing-impaired, and they are the people trying to raise funds to hire a teacher and a psychologist for the centre.

Their first fundraiser will be a Sunset Cruise on the “Bahia Allegre”. It’s on Monday, 1st April at 5:00pm. It offers free non-alcoholic drinks, a cash bar, snacks, music and entertainment. It’s a steal of a deal for $400pesos. Tickets are available by calling Antonio at 322 125-5013.

The International Friendship Club (IFC) strives to help Mexicans who need financial help with their health or their education and “The Deaf School” will help us deliver that help to the deaf people here.

Buy a ticket or drop off a donation for The Deaf School at IFC office in downtown. It is located above HSBC on Insurgentes, where it joins Libertad.

Please remember Helen Keller’s statement “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

John Warren on Email
John Warren
John Warren is in charge of Publicity for the International Friendship Club (IFC). His articles describe the programs and charities that IFC supports, the sources of income of IFC and the social experiences, lectures and classes that members can enjoy.
He splits his time between Puerto Vallarta and Lethbridge, Alberta. In the winter months he writes for the IFC, this summer he’s focusing his writing on the environment.