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Lights out dinner on - the dinner in the dark of December 2018

To reserve a table for a dinner might be considered as an everyday incident, even though that peculiar dinner did not take place in a noble Restaurant, but in the lovely decorated gym of the IRHOV school in Liège. The dinner took place two days in two consecutive evenings, the 7th and the 8th of December respectively. But neither location nor menu nor date really mattered. For the actual reason why, most people came laid in darkness.

As the dinner guests arrived, they were greeted warmly, both, at the counter, where they received their tickets for drinks and at the following champagne reception, where they had time to chat and snack a bit before the actual dinner started. In the meantime, the dining hall got its last preparation. Every registered group had an own table and every table had a blind or partially sighted waiter to help the guests get their drinks. As every thing was prepared, the groups were guided one by one from their respective waiter into the room, which now was covered in total darkness. The light would only return when starter, main course and dessert have been eaten blindly.

The experience was extraordinary for blind, sighted and partially sighted alike. The sudden loss of vision had effects on the sighted that blind and partially sighted never could have guessed. Some of the once sighted dinner guests lost their feeling for proportions and orientation so that the blind and partially sighted had to describe the room, it’s proportions and the size of the table. After the first shock the conversation turned to other matters like the everyday life of visually impaired persons, and its difficulties (how do you shop clothes, do you use makeup etc.) Only in the end the conversation turned back to the everyday lifes of the participants.

In between the food gave a lot of cause to talk about. Since the visually impaired had been instructed not to tell what’s on the menu while the dinner lasted, some participants got surprised later when they heard what they actually ate.
After the light returned and the dinner finished, the participants got informed, in a small speech, about views international and IRHOV, the two hosting organizations of the dinner. With coffee, tea and further conversations, the evening ended and everyone returned home.
In case you got curious for the next dinner – just wait till March!