[Press release] For all the able-bodied persons who sit by and complain about the lack of job opportunities one farmer from Desruisseaux is defying all odds to eke out an existent for himself and his family.
Meet Antonius Tixey, a dedicated father, husband and avid farmer.
Antonius, a resident of farming community in Blanchard, Desruisseaux, zealously attends to his farm daily and is the sole breadwinner in his family. What you did not know is that Antonius is completely blind.
“Well my profession is farming you can see that’s what I like to do. That’s what I used to do before, long time before I got blind. I am proud of taking farming into perspective right now,” he said.
Antonius had perfect vision for the first 30 years of his life; however 12 years ago he lost his vision rather quickly due to a condition called optic neuritis which occurs when the optic nerve become inflamed and can flare up suddenly from an infection or nerve disease.
“Well in the beginning it was horrible. I never believed somebody can live with blindness but with family and friends around you, your wife, your children, they give you the courage. I readjusted my life and make myself adjust to blindness now and admit it happened already and life has to go on.”
Antonius relies on his cutlass and his acute sense of touch to navigate his farm.
“You make yourself adjust to it. Like you know it’s slippery, you know when it rains it’s going to slide, so you have to adjust yourself for it. So you take your time you know. As you can see I clean like anybody else, I plant it myself, I clean it myself. I take care of it until it’s ready to harvest. I harvest myself as well.”
What Antonius said next about made me question whether he truly could not see?
“Especially when you can see my dasheen growing so nice you know and I touch it and I see like the tree look massive, the yam popping up you know. The plantain shooting up, especially when I harvest for the weekend you know. Almost every weekend I give my cousin, Sista, she’s a mother to everyone, she sells for me at the market. So especially when you harvest and you give her to sell something for you, she brings your money for you like you have a salary coming in every week you know. It’s worth a lot.”
He also credits his success to the support he received from the St. Lucia Blind Welfare Association.
“Well Blind Welfare is very, very, very excellent. They have done an excellent job in my life, giving me the courage. Actually every time I used to need something for my garden they always assist me. As long I call they will assist me in my fertilizers, they will assist me in my seedlings, even my chemicals because I remember I used to plant corn before. Blind Welfare always there for me; that why I say we cannot afford to lose Blind Welfare. It’s an institution that’s always taking care of me all the time.”
He had encouraging words for other blind and visually impaired persons.
“God is love and in him there is no darkness at all. So you have spiritual eyes watching you so you should not be afraid to do thing. You’re not supposed to stay in the house and sit down and think you will get lost. You have to go and pray to the most high and he will give you the strength and you will move on and you will continue doing your journey as long as you’re determined to do it, he will give you’re the strength to do it.”
The St. Lucia Blind Welfare Association also celebrates the achievement of Antonius Tixey the blind farmer from Blanchard Desruisseaux.