Monday, August 8

The sea on the horizon

Like every summer, I have reread those news headlines that indicate the implementation of accessibility plans for some Spanish beaches. But when you go down to the sand you see everything but accessibility. If there is something by nature not very accessible for people with a disability, in which autonomy is compromised, those are the beaches. Sand, open spaces full of mobile obstacles (other people) and immobile (umbrellas and towels …), few points to take orientation references, absence of firm ground, etc. Taking a dip for many of us is a milestone. A very distant aspiration, as distant as the horizon of that sea, for many, unattainable.

On the beach where I reside during the summers, there is a family that has been battling for access to the beach and the sea. The beach has them, but more than a kilometer or two from your home. They claim that real accessibility, because if to get into the sea they have to travel, under a blazing sun, such a distance, they will tell me what kind of facility that is. Despite their collection of signatures, a call to the media and a demonstration, they have not yet succeeded in getting the competent administration … to pave the way for them.

That indifference hurts and it hurts those who raise their voices not to support, but to remind them that pretending to lead a normal life, taking a bath in the ocean, enjoying free time, is not something they can aspire to, given their circumstances. What you get to read on social networks is surprising.

Even so, there are those who are concerned, after all, with improving the quality of life of those of us who have it more difficult to move and, with the best of intentions and lack of means, implement accessibility plans, which are something more that nothing, but clearly insufficient. More in a country like ours with thousands of kilometers of coastline.

There is no shortage of blue flags, but there is a lack of wooden paths to carry wheelchairs to the shore. There is a lack of amphibious chairs and personnel to help carry out the great feat that continues to be for many people to get into the water, for whom the sea … is still on the horizon.