Who Needs Eyes When You Have Wings?
The story of Afik and Rotem
Afik Sofer is a 17 year old teenager. He has Cerebral Palsy and is blind. Before joining Krembo Wings he was shy and kept to himself; he didn´t make friends easily. He was very guarded and was careful to stay away from anyone whose tone of voice sounded strange or threatening. His only friend was his computer, and he depended on it like oxygen. He felt that he needed a change, but he did not know where to begin.
An acquaintance told him about a "special" youth movement, and it intrigued him enough to decide that he would try it out. It has now been over two years since he first visited Krembo Wings, and he has been happy ever since. His world has expanded, as has his heart. Since joining Krembo Wings, he has started smiling and believing that he too deserves to be surrounded with friends and love. Since he has tasted the sweet taste of happiness, he is unwilling to let it go. After two years at Krembo Wings, he has come to understand that everyone has disabilities, they are just not always visible. Sometimes he still gets a little angry and impatient, but he has learned not to hurry or to judge. He has learned to laugh and to love, and above all, he has learned to accept everyone as they are.
After a short acclimation period in which he gained confidence and new friends, Afik became a counselor. At the Krembo Wings summer camp he met Rotem, a 14 year old charming and energetic girl with disabilities, and since then they have become good friends – and they are also partners at Krembo Wings. Afik supports her, encourages her, and makes her laugh, and she soothes his fears. Thanks to her, Afik learned not to be afraid of fear itself. For the first time in his life, Afik feels that he doesn´t need his eyes: because who needs eyes when the heart soars? Suddenly, all the walls that surrounded him have fallen down. Wall after wall has disappeared, including the wall of loneliness.
The friendship between Afik and Rotem is composed of thousands of moments. Their concern for each other is real and sincere. It is hard for Afik to "see" Rotem upset and sad, and in a recent activity it happened. Everyone had assembled in the room for the Super Hero dance, and Afik and Rotem sat together, as always, to get Rotem’s cape ready. Afik doesn´t know where it came from, but suddenly Rotem got angry, and then she got sad, and the tears started flowing. He tried to be there for her and soothe the anger – but nothing helped. Not even their secret magic word. Rotem went to the other room. Time passed, everybody else´s capes were ready and the group dance started without Rotem. The activity ended and the transport buses arrived, but Afik couldn´t leave. He had to make sure that his friend had calmed down. Nobody could persuade him to leave. He stood on the side and waited. Rotem came back to the hall and her eyes were searching for him; she knew that he was worried about her. Afik gently held her hand, and asked her with concern if she was alright. She hugged him tightly, as if apologizing for the distress she had caused him, and answered quietly: "now I am". They stood hugging for several moments, and then walked together towards the bus. The moment before she boarded the bus, Rotem turned to Segen, her second counselor, and told her: "Please take care of him for me". Afik’s smile lit up the world. He knew that Rotem would be alright. Now he could board his bus.
This is the story of an entire youth movement with tens of branches, thousands of members, and countless connections of hearts.