Monday, May 7, 2012

Camilo - Another Way to See the World

I been debating about writing this in English or Spanish; eventually I decided to write it in English anyway. Lately I been writing all the memories I left behind, turning this small blog into a small diary that is just the reflection of my self and who I was and who I become. Before moving to the United States, I lived in a small city called Cartagena de Indias, in Colombia. It was a small city where also I went to my first college, it probably didn't helped a lot on a long term because I moved from Colombia and eventually I started again 3 years and 5 months ago which marked also a 4 year time lapse since I graduated from Universidad de Bogota Jorge Tadeo Lozano, Seccional Caribe and I got accepted into The Tampa University; re-doing my life hasn't been easy but not trying to forget my memories from U.J.T.L. where I learned more about the word and the different realities everyone lives. I was 22 to 23 when I heard that a special need student got accepted into the Architecture program, but it wasn't until about a week later when he arrived at school, and about a month later when I finally met him. During the mean time before the first exams, I had that the chance to meet him, his name was Camilo, he was about 2 years older than me but yet he was more child like, quite innocent, I wondered how he entered the program?.

So, during the next couples of months I opted to follow him to some of his classes and because it was a small school, I did knew some teachers of that faculty and they let me in. I was amazed, Camilo had a perfect memory, he could recite everything letter by letter by the books but yet his behavior was innocent, he screamed if someone touched him on his arms, or his overalls, I was fascinated because he was unique; yet people called him retard, stupid, mongo, etc, people were cruel until the very end I left the college but yet much of the people opened to him and he became probably the most popular person on the campus. Time passed by, as many students I had probably daily salutations, I heard the word autism for the first time when I was 23, and during that same year I heard the word Asperger by the campus nurse. Camilo was autistic and he had asperger, he sees the world in such a unique way, different from you and me, from everyone else, he is not sick, he is a healthy man, smart but yet he more innocent than you and me. It was the explanation I heard from the school nurse, I never forget her words 4 years later, because they were honest. During the last two years of school, I became as many other sort of a friend, a surrogate member up to the point if he wanted to see with anyone, no one say no to him, but yet abuses persisted from people who thought he was over exaggerating or where people who saw him as a looser. No one who wants to become better and learn is a loser, a loser is someone who is stuck in the same cycle of life and thinks he is better than everyone else.

During my last year of school, by mere act of casualty I met Camilo's mother, a nice lady from Bogota, then I knew a little bit of his back story where he was actually introverted to the point he barely muttered words and the family moved to Cartagena because they saw the city had a positive impact on Camilo but as a mother she was worried that her son who didn't knew between bad or good would get assaulted by people with dubious reputation, or some bullies at the school. I saw something I never imagined in that short span, is not only one person who sees the world different it's their family who their vision change also. Since then, I always been fascinated because what is real for you, it couldn't be real for me and there are different realities in this one place we call Earth.