Posts Tagged ‘Dreams’

Reid My Mind Radio: Manhattan Dreams from Moscow

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Picture of Nafset Chenib on platform during the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi Russia

Nafset Chenib dreams of attending school in New York City. Listen to more about her dream, challenges and experience  growing up in russia…but you especially, have to hear her voice!

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Resources:
*Nafset’s Go Fund Me]*Closing Ceremony 2014 Paralympics Sochi, Russia

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpXg1R50-K0>

 

Transcript

[Opening Music- Nafset  – A. Dvorak – Mesichku Na Nebi (Rusalka)]

TR:
You’re listening to Nafset Chenib, a 28 year old soprano born in Southern Russia.

NC: Now I live in Moscow. I have studied hear for five years  and then I decided to stay here cause I love this city and from my point of view it’s much easier to live in the big city when you are blind rather than a small town.

TR:
At 6 years old Nafset began attending a Russian boarding school for blind children.

NC:
Unfortunately we had no choice . We didn’t have any opportunity for a inclusive education. So I was forced to be there at the boarding school – it was quite far from my house.

TR:
While she says she received a good education, Nafset believes not all of the components that make up the educational plan are fulfilled. Meaning both academic and social including daily living skills.

NC:
There are a lot of teachers that don’t know Braille in those special schools. From my experience I wasn’t taught to use the cane.

TR:
There was even some lacking in the general attitude regarding the capabilities of blind children. Nafset recalls how the school’s director responded
when she and her class mates wanted to learn the English language like children outside of boarding schools.

NC:
He told us “Are you gonna travel or what are you supposed to do with your English?”
You know it was quite offensive.

TR:
Ironically Nafset would come to not only learn English, but several foreign languages.

NC:
I’m not Russian. I’m Sarcasian so I can speak this Sarcasian language it’s called Adyghe language. I speak Russian. I speak Italian. Now I try to study German, mainly because of music.

TR:
Go ahead and add her ability to sing in Hebrew, Czechoslovakian and Spanish.

While the boarding school may have not imagined  blind Russian students having a need for learning English, they did have a music school that would introduce Nafset to her passion.

NC:
I finished my musical school as a pianist. But I had supplementary discipline. It was vocal, opera singing. I started to participate in different festivals to sing in different choirs. I participated in the festival when there was the great opera singer  Montserrat Caballé.

TR:
Among other notable experiences, add the time she sang for Pope John Paul the second!

NC:
I was able to visit  Covent Garden Opera. They performed  Semele by Handel and I was so impressed  that I decided to go in for music more seriously.

TR:
Taking her dream seriously, Nafset  had to fill one of the components that wasn’t addressed in the school for the blind. She decided to find an orientation and mobility trainer to learn how to use the white cane in order to better travel independently.

Now able to make her own life decisions,  Nafset chose to pursue her college education in an inclusive environment, even though there is a special musical college for the blind.

NC:
After college I decided to pursue my education in Moscow. I studied at Victor Popov Academy  of Choral Arts. It was wonderful time. I sing solo; students choir. I was able to collaborate with very interesting orchestras, outstanding conductors.

TR:
In some respects,  a vocation as a singer seems like a natural fit for a talented person who is blind.

NC:
Conductors, they don’t trust you. I hear the question “How are you gonna sing if you don’t see the conductor?”
[Trailing sarcastic laugh!]

TR:
The misperceptions about blindness aren’t very logical and are more about the beholder’s limitations rather than the person who is blind.

[Musical transition – Nafset  – A. Dvorak – Mesichku Na Nebi (Rusalka)]

In the 1980’s when asked by a reporter if Russia would participate in the first Paralympic games
A Russian governmental official famously responded:
“There Are No Invalids in the USSR!”

Outright denying the existence of people with disabilities in the country.

While progress is slowly being made, it’s not surprising that
many teachers  are still against creating an inclusive educational environment for children with disabilities.

There continues to be a real lack of resources including Braille materials, access to information such as scholarly databases and information in general

While Nafset recognizes the areas for improvement, she’s very clear about her love of her country and wants to be a part of the solution.

NC:
I see that we have a lot to adopt from the United States. I’m eager to do that.

The thing is you know dreamed to study at the Manhattan School of Music and then to go back and to share my acquired knowledge and skills

TR:
Going after your dreams isn’t easy!
Most artistic endeavors  require a great deal of practice and of course you   need to make a living.

NC:
I work at the Moscow Art Theater. I sing for one performance. I like my job. It’s like a miracle for me.

TR:
Singing for one of the shows at the theater as well as occasional concerts,
Nafset is still uncertain of her future employment opportunities
but she remains committed to her dream.

So what exactly is stopping Nafset from pursuing her dream?
…The cost!

NC:
In February, I had a successful audition at Manhattan School of Music in New York And I was accepted  and I have been granted scholarship it amounted to 15 thousand dollars, but the whole tuition fees  45 thousand dollars so I think I’m not able to pursue my education in USA.

I have not a bad education here in Russia but for me self-development is the main thing in my life. I want to develop myself.

TR:
Sometimes it’s helpful to think about our past successes to provide encouragement and remind us that we can prevail.

[Audio from 2014 Paralympics Closing Ceremony in Sochi, Russia]

In 2014 During the closing ceremony of the Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, Nafset was the soloist in the closing act.

NC:
It was just a great honor for me!

I was so glad to sing there …stadium included 40 thousand people. The show was televised as well.
TR:
Making her entrance , Nafset is on a platform which rises above the rest of the entertainers and participants on the field.

[Audio: Nafset begins to sing!]

The Olympic torch is extinguished as Nafset holds her final note!
[Audio: Nafset softly holding that final note]

NC:
It’s unforgettable experience for me!
TR:
unforgettable!

NC:
Maybe I am an Idealist but it’s my dream.

TR:
You continue to follow your dream!

TR:
Maybe her entrance during the Sochi performance is symbolic of things to come. Nafset rising above all – perhaps all of the obstacles on her path toward fulfilling her dream. Her passion represented by the fire can only be extinguished by Nafset herself.

You have to respect anyone pursuing their dream. Especially those who can  still find time for gratitude when things don’t seem to be going as they wish.

NC:
I just want to say I’m very happy  to have the experience in United States. Today I can tell the people here in Russia about the things that we don’t have here but you have there in the United States. I’m very thankful to all the American companies who work out the software and different technical devices to improve our lives. I really feel very thankful.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Nafset or supporting her dream;
check out her go fund me
http://bit.ly/Nafset That’s
bit.ly/Capital N lower case A F S E T

This is Thomas Reid, .

NC: “Unfortunately we have no choice”
Thomas usually concludes with some silly self-effacing close![]

for Gatewave Radio
Audio for Independent Living!

If you’re listening to this via the podcast or Sound Cloud and want to check out the YouTube video or link to Nafset’s Go Fund Me, go on over to Reid My Mind.com where I have all the links.

A final thought as I was producing this story…

One of the things I always loved and miss about living and working  in New York City is the variety of people.
Among  most of my friends and family, I’m one of the only people who didn’t mind riding the subway. I loved people watching and the occasional spontaneous conversations  that either I would be a part of or have the chance to overhear or basically ease drop.

Interviewing different people  for me brings back a similar feeling. Especially speaking with those I’d otherwise never have a chance to randomly meet.
Like those in a different country from other cultures sharing their experience.

You just listened to  two people from very different back grounds in countries that were once  the greatest enemies.

I guess I’m old enough where I still am amazed and appreciate the technology involved in making this conversation possible.

The conversation itself took place on our iPhones via Face time Audio.
It was just a few years ago that the idea of a phone with a touch screen
was believed to be a poor reflection of the future of accessibility for those who are blind.

I’m still impressed that our Wi-Fi connection held up as packets of information were sent back and forth from the Poconos in Pennsylvania, USA  to Moscow in Russia.

Maybe it’s just my level of Geekiness that thinks that stuff is still pretty cool! And Nafset , reminds me to continue to be thankful!

Thanks for listening!{Or Reading!}

Peace!