Ride Austin Providing Free Medical Transportation

Beginning in August of this year, Ride Austin, a local ride sharing service, will partner with the Community Care Collaborative to provide free transportation to medical appointments or pharmacies. The doctors or pharmacies must be part of the Community Care Collaborative. Funding for this service is being provided by a grant from the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas.

Ride Austin is a non-profit transportation network company that serves Travis and portions of surrounding counties. The medical transportation service will initially be available only to residents of Travis county.

For more information about Ride Austin, please visit their web site: http://www.rideaustin.com/

Perkins Store and Other Adaptive Technology Sources

The Perkins online store (www.perkinsproducts.org/store/en/) is now only selling braillers and related equipment, although the organization will continue to offer blank NLS digital cartridges when the new shipment arrives in July.

Here are a few other distributors for assistive technology such as video magnifiers, digital book players, and Braille notetakers:
Independent Living Aids: www.independentliving.com
LS&S: www.lssproducts.com
Maxi-Aids: www.maxiaids.com
Enablemart: www.enablemart.com/
IRTI (Innovative Rehabilitation Technology): www.irti.net/

 

New Transportation Service in Collin County

Collin County Transit is a new taxi voucher service available for people who are elderly or have disabilities and live in the McKinney area. The service operates on weekdays only from 6 am to 6 pm.

For more information, including a service overview, eligibility, and questions regarding fares and payment, please visit:
https://www.dcta.net/routes-schedules/other-dcta-services/collin-county-transit or call 940-243-0077. Registration is required before individuals are able to use the service.

Staff Pick—John—IN ORDER TO LIVE: A NORTH KOREAN GIRL’S JOURNEY TO FREEDOM, by Yeonmi Park, DB 82685

If North Korea is in the news, you know something bad happened.

Usually it’s a nuclear missile test, cyber attack, or military purge.

Most recently, it was the sad case of Otto Warmbier, the college student from Cincinnati who, in January of 2016, was arrested in North Korea for stealing a propaganda poster.  Sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, Warmbier died shortly after being released earlier this month.

Headlines aside, satellites and space stations are our most reliable windows into life in North Korea.  Astronauts on the International Space Station caused an International Sensation in 2014 when NASA released a photo taken as the space station flew over the Korean Peninsula.

https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/iss038e038300.jpg

The photo shows North Korea as almost completely black.  China and South Korea are brightly illuminated, but—save for the glimmer of Pyongyang—North Korea blends into the black ocean.  This absence of light is an exquisite metaphor for what we don’t know about life in the “hermit kingdom.”

North Korean defectors put a human face on life in this police state, but they’ve proven to be unreliable witnesses, in part because lying is a reflexive survival mechanism for North Koreans.

Escape from Camp Fourteen, by Blaine Harden (DB 76532), is the most prominent example.  Three years after publication, Shin Dong-hyuk, the young defector at the heart of the book, changed some of the details of his story.  (See http://www.blaineharden.com/escape-from-camp-14-reviews/.)

As Harden notes, because North Korea is closed to the outside world, it’s difficult to fact-check defectors’ stories, and they must be read with a skeptical eye.

Several recent memoirs written by defectors, vetted by skeptical eyes, shed slivers of light on North Korea, including IN ORDER TO LIVE: A NORTH KOREAN GIRL’S JOURNEY TO FREEDOM, by Yeonmi Park (DB 82685).

Park escaped North Korea in 2007 at the age of 13, along with her mother.  Both were sold as slave brides in China, and Yeonmi later helped traffic other North Korean women—one of many examples of what she did, quite literally, in order to live.

Park eventually finds her way to South Korea.  Along the way, she discovers that freedom can be cruel and painful.  Her salvation is books: reading helps her learn how to be a human.

Park offers a disturbing but human portrait of North Korea as “hell on earth.”  Yes, it’s not uncommon to go weeks, if not months, without electricity.  She and her family eat roasted cicadas, grasshoppers, and dragonfly heads to survive the famine of the 1990s.  When faced with a fertilizer shortage, the regime institutes a policy which is so bizarre that it’s almost amusing.  Almost.

Hatred of Americans is a pillar of education in North Korea: schoolchildren are taught to hate Americans.  The bleakness of life in North Korea is even reflected in its language: there is no word for “justice.”  And the only definition of “love” is what you feel for the Dear Leader.

While you’re enjoying those lazy hazy crazy days of summer, take a moment to give thanks that you live in the United States, where justice is more than a word, and you can love to your heart’s content.

NLS Annotation: An autobiographical recounting of life in the repressive North Korean society in which the author was raised, and her subsequent escape.  She describes her family, the culture of leader worship, her father’s imprisonment and torture, and how, even after her escape, she was sold into sexual slavery in China.  Unrated.  Commercial audiobook.  2015.

For more about Yeonmi Park and North Korea, travel to these links:

Park’s remarkable 2014 One World Summit speech:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufhKWfPSQOw

Park’s book talk at Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?400033-1/order-live

And a ReasonTV interview:

http://reason.com/archives/2015/11/13/yeonmi-park-north-korean-defector/print

For further exploration of North Korea, read THE GREAT LEADER AND THE FIGHTER PILOT: THE TRUE STORY OF THE TYRANT WHO CREATED NORTH KOREA AND THE YOUNG LIEUTENANT WHO STOLE HIS WAY TO FREEDOM, by Blaine Harden (DB 82372).

THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON (DB 74282), by Adam Johnson, is a fictionalized peek inside North Korea.  It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2013.

ZoomText Training July 26-27, 2017 in Dallas

VFO and the American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss in Dallas are partnering to provide a two day training on ZoomText. This training is available for both visually impaired and sighted individuals, but space is limited. Here are the details:

What: ZoomText training
Where: American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss, 11030 Ables Lane, Dallas, TX 75229
When: July 26 – 27, 2017, 9 am – 4 pm
Cost: $550

Registration is available online at this link: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ee5p4qzkcc37316c&oseq=&c=&ch=&utm_source=AFB&utm_campaign=6c59328801-CVL_Transportation+and+Training&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ec813cd965-6c59328801-167412569

Contact information for VFO:
800-444-4443 extension 3
orders@VFOGroup.com

For directions to the American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss please contact:
Neva Fairchild
214-438-5316
neva@afb.net