One step at a time – Now what, José?

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Check out the story of a young Brazilian who has been winning over the nights in Calgary, after a traumatic accident that left him visually impaired.

By Flávia Berredo de Menezes / Calgary

Man’s adaptation to physical, environmental and biological factors develops according to the needs of each person in a certain place. But up to what point does the development of aptitudes become a harmonious factor to the social well-being of someone who tragically lost, overnight, his capacity to see?

An example of triumph, Brazilian student José Ribamar Ribeiro Neto (27) was caught in the middle of a crossfire, while walking with his girlfriend Roberta Porto on the streets of downtown Calgary, after having dinner, on the evening 26th of September, 2008. This incident made him blind, and in music he found the possibility to carry on by winning over the stages and the audiences in the province of Alberta, enchanting all with samba and great bossanova classics.

Music is a tool that unites, breaking the barriers between nations and people.

“Dependency and limitations are very complicated factors to deal with”, states José Neto who works in production copyright, with the intention to raise funds to record his first album. With the job at hand, the Brazilian from Fortaleza is grateful for subsidies from the Canadian government that have been designated to encourage culture.

Three and a half years after the accident, this student is gradually adapting to the achievement of greater independence. “Although I am optimistic, I try not to put all my hopes in being able to see again, but I place them in the capacity of the human being to adapt. The confirmation of this is that I remember when I thought that I would never study again, play my guitar, travel, cook, surf the Internet, read books, etc., things that I do very well today”.

The infrastructure offered in Canada is the main reason that José Neto and Roberta (now the musician’s wife) stay in the country. “Our priorities are safety, personal growth and mobility. The province of Alberta has implemented the “Handi-bus”, a door-to-door public transportation service. Besides, there are also standardized sidewalks with ramps and tactile warnings for people in wheelchairs and the visually impaired who use canes.

A member of the Brazilian Association in Calgary, Neto participates in various events throughout the year. Furthermore, the Brazilian is completing professional education in massage therapy. He believes it will be possible to combine the two careers – music and massage therapy, because he identifies himself with both as having the ability to promote the well-being of people”. “The fact is that after the accident, my wife and I have learned to live the present, one step at a time,” he concludes.

Show contacts: 403 667-9046 – Email: joseneto@shaw.ca.  Social media: Facebook – JoséNeto / Twitter – @josenetow