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Sightless man bakes for special needs students

Gregory Smith and his wife Marriott at Eslyn Henley Richiez Learning Centre

By Davion Smith, BVI News Online Staff

Living with a disability himself, Gregory Smith has no reluctance in sharing his culinary skills with the special needs students at Eslyn Henley Richiez Learning Centre (EHRLC).

Smith is a visually impaired pastry chef who has been volunteering at EHRLC for years. He said he quite enjoys making his contribution to the school.

Educators at the special needs institution said Smith is an inspiration to the students, considering that he has made something of himself despite being visually impaired.

Smith, in the meantime, told BVI News that he was not born without his eyesight.

He said he was capable of seeing up to adulthood, and was already practicing in the culinary field.

The pastry chef didn’t go into detail about how he lost his sight. When asked about it, he muttered: “I was on medication.”

It happened 1993, Smith told BVI News Online. “For the first couple of months, it had me hold up. But my wife, she encourage me… It’s a hard thing to know that you can see, walk on your own, and the next day – or within three days’ time, you can’t move,” Smith said as he rolled a handful of dough for baking.

Smith, who now works with the Agriculture Department in Paraquita Bay, noted that he did not allow the major life change to keep him down.

Shortly after he became visually impaired, Smith enrolled in the Society for the Blind in Jamaica.

“There, I gained a lot of courage too because when I went there you had people who born with socket but they don’t have the ball of the eye. There was one guy [like that] who was teaching braille. So he never see what colour an orange is, or an apple, but I see them. So, if you ain’t never see them and I see them [before], this (blindness) ain’t gonna stop me. So that’s where I get a lot of encouragement from.”

Now well-adjusted after losing his sight, Smith continues to do what he loves – and more.

He also knows his way around a sharp knife.

“Even though I’m blind; I can peel potato. As a matter a fact, I’m the cook home; I do all the cooking home. I can peel potato, peel onion, peel orange – anything.”

Smith added: “I clean fish; I skin goat, and so I told Mrs [Vansittart] Huggins that I am gonna come by [the school] to do some bread stuff for the kids.”

Huggins is the principal at EHRLC, where Smith made one of his usual visits yesterday, May 12. He was helping the students with a Mothers’ Day project.

“I’m glad that I come today (Friday). So I’m gonna make some of these stuff [pastry] so they can carry home for their mothers for Mothers’ Day,” Smith said.

Principal, Vansittart Huggin

Principal Huggins lauded Smith for his contribution to the school.

“He donated all of the ingredients. The only things that he requested were an oven and a counter-top. I knew him before and we had a student that was blind, so we used him as a motivator for not only the person that was blind but for all the students, to let them know that it’s not about their limitations but their potentiality. So you can do anything you set your mind to,” Huggins said.

In the meanwhile, Smith’s message to persons who have a disability is: “Don’t give up.”

“If you lost one thing – if you loss a leg, don’t feel that you can’t do nothing. You could still use you eye; use you mouth. If you lose your eyes, you still got your hands; you could still move about. I always tell people ‘when you think you have it worse, think about somebody who have it worse that you and you will never worry about your problems…’ You just got to use your mind. That’s all. Don’t let it go to waste.”

EHRLC student assists with the baking

Copyright 2017 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

20 Comments

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  1. JayEm says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 2

    This is SO so very inspiring!!!

    • The rock says:

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

      That guy is awesome, never seen anyone like him and his wife is so supportive which is so very rear in these time, kudos to both of them!

  2. Tim says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0

    Greg, continue to do what you love doing. A very inspiring story! God’s blessings

  3. Myrna Fonseca Florida says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0

    Very good, I enjoyed reading every word and feel so happy Mr Smith shared his delicious pastries with your school and to give us the encouragement that some of us are lacking due to our limitations that we must never give up.

    MR Smith I must take this opportunity to compliment you Sir for your encouragement you shared with the Teachers and school children yesterday .

    May I take this opportunity to wish your beautiful wife a HAPPY MOTHERS DAY. God Blessyou Sir

  4. Lester. VG says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

    Go Cammy. Do your do. You got Mariett by your side . And Messina behind you
    We are all proud of your and thankful for your contributions

    I was lucky to work with him in Peter island in 80/81

    Push on my brother 🙏🏾

  5. KB says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 0

    Mr Smith is truly an inspiration. So good to see that he does not allow his loss of sight to keep him down.

    He’s a great mentor and role model to the kids. Thanks to Mr Smith and his wife and Ms Huggins for the great work that they do.

  6. Thank you says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

    Mr. Smith, your story bought tears to my eyes. I don’t know you but I have so much respect for you and what you are doing.

    You prove that nothing in life should keep a person down. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story.

    May God continue to bless you.🙏🙏🙏

  7. joy says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

    mr smith you are truly a blessing may god bless you and your family

  8. East End says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

    This is a great article. I remember working with him on Peter Island, he is a great person. I love seeing him and his wife, they are an inspiration.

  9. LJ says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

    What a wonderful story and a wonderful man. May God continue to bless you Mr. Smith.

  10. Long Bay says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

    Thanks for representing us so well SIR.

  11. BVI MAN says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Man this is SO NICE!!!!! God bless you Mr Smith. I honestly dont know if I could do without my eyesight. You are a TRUE SOLDIER MAN!!

  12. Interested says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    What an inspiration.May God continue to bless Gregory and Mariet who always stands by his side.

  13. Awesome says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Great story! Impressive!

  14. Reader says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    Commendations to you Mr. Gregory Smith as well as to your wife Mariette Smith. God bless you both especially Mr. Smith for not letting your loss of eyesight keep you down, but instead motivating others, e.g. the students at EHRLC. Blessings also to Principal Ms. V. Huggins and your staff…

  15. musa says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    great look out god bless you brother

  16. musa says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    great look out god bles
    s you brother

  17. GE says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    Beautiful article…very inspirational

  18. Facts says:

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

    His wife is a super strong woman. God bless you always.

  19. SMH says:

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    God is Good!!!

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