I come to see you in my wheelchair
——Story of Carlos Esteban, a member of the summer camp of the Confucius Institute in Medellin, Colombia

[Source]    the Confucius Institute in Medellin [Time]    2015-07-06 16:32:59 


Carlos, born in 1989 in Colombia, has a rare congenital disease. For the 26 years of his life since he was born, he cannot stand up or walk, not to mention running or jumping, and he has been confined to the wheelchair ever since his birth; with a height of less than 1 meter, he could even break his bones or even almost die just because of some simple movements like sneezing or turning his body incautiously. However, Carlos is extremely calm and open-minded, strong and confident, and his life is never short of wonderful things, but full of “miracles”. 

In June of early summer, accompanied by his mother, Carlos came to Dalian University of Foreign Languages (DUFL) in his wheelchair together with other members of the summer camp of the Confucius Institute in Medellin.

A beautiful “accident”

At a corner of I Yuedu (love reading) Public Book Bar at the Spanish and Portuguese Department of DUFL, Carlos’ beautiful and gentle mother, sitting beside Carlos, was interviewed by our reporters. She told our reporters that Carlos was a beautiful “accident” in her life. Because of this strong, optimistic and humorous kid, the whole family feels very happy, and each day he offers the family a chance to contemplate on and learn from life.

Carlos, who was beside his mom, looked like a three- or four-year-old baby. His skinny body leaned on the back of the wheelchair, his left arm with a new bandage. He said, apart from the care from his mother, the camp counselors and his fellow campers, Hanban and DUFL also offered him extremely meticulous care, which was really a beautiful “accident”.

Nevertheless, Carlos did come across a threatening but not dangerous trouble during this trip. When he first arrived at DUFL, since he mostly relied on the wheelchair to move around, he needed his mother to carry him going up and down the stairs. Unexpectedly, his mother tripped herself while carrying him down the stairs and Carlos fell onto the ground. He was soon sent to the hospital by the university staff. After a group consultation of doctors, it was so fortunate that Carlos just broke his left arm. With the extra care by the doctors and nurses for this special patient, everyone assumed that the feeble Carlos would be “well-behaved” to accept his treatment. However, since “prolonged illness makes the patient be a doctor”, Carlos unhurriedly told everyone how to bandage him based on his past experience. After he was bandaged, he soon went back to the Chinese lessons and didn’t miss any other lesson from then on, because he knew that it was such a precious opportunity for him to visit China.

Simple happiness

Carlos graduated from EAFIT University in Medellin, Colombia (Escuela de Administración y Finanzas e Instituto Tecnológico) with a bachelor degree in Business Management and a master degree in Finance. He is now working as a director of the Asian division of a coffee company. Three years ago, he started to learn Chinese at the Confucius Institute in Medellin. Talking about this trip, he said in simple and direct words, “My business is in China, a country as mysterious as Colombia and appealing me greatly. My next stop will be Shanghai where I will meet my Chinese clients!”

When he first came to China, Carlos found it “out of his expectation”, because China is so large that is beyond his imagination. In his description, the roads in China are so wide and the buildings are so magnificent. So when he first arrived at DUFL, he felt a bit lost facing such a town-like campus covering a large area and having complete facilities. Thus, he had to ask for a map from the people accompanying him.

When talking about his trip in China and the happy moments he had at DUFL, Carlos smiled widely. He said that he liked the deep-fried dough sticks from the university canteen for breakfast, and if anyone could understand his Chinese, he would feel extremely delighted.

The power of belief

Proficient in both Spanish and English, Carlos sees communicating with others as his favorite and greatest strength. He could talk with his friends to “share life experiences”. It might be because it is not convenient for him to move around that Carlos needs the verbal communication to carry his thoughts farther or to help him walk faster. He said that languages are his legs which take him to places around the world to make friends everywhere.

Carlos never thinks that he is any different from others. On the contrary, he doesn’t use the inconvenience in life caused by his disease as an excuse, but considers himself as an ordinary person and tries his best in everything. Just as his colleague accompanying him during this trip described, “Carlos always thinks that he is not more special than anyone else. If there is anything he wants to do, he will do it.”

Although Carlos cannot run and has to sit in the wheelchair all his lifetime, he says that if one has the passion, one can do anything well. Everyone has his/her own strengths, and it only takes time and practice to get proficient and better.

Like a miraculous magician, Carlos hides in his sick and feeble body a belief to try to be an ordinary person; whenever meeting with difficulties and setbacks, he, always being calm and confident, faces the future optimistically and courageously with the energy that is unparalleled by any ordinary people.

Story by Li Tingting & Liu Fengyi

Photo by the University Student Reporters Group


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