Marco has been working at the 105 Gibson Cultural Café since it opened in 2014. His optimism and great sense of humour makes it difficult to imagine the hardship he faces as a visually impaired person (VIP). He was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa and gradually lost his vision by his mid-30s. Shortly after, he became unemployed when the family business closed down. He spent his days hiding at home. His life was dark, long and without hope.
He met Rev. Danny Leung, founder of Joy Beyond Vision Community (JBVC), at this low point in life. He became JBVC’s first VIP to complete the Food Safety Handling Certification course and to work at the Cultural Café. It was not easy at first, but the customers were very understanding and patient. Their compassion encouraged Marco to work harder and these valuable experiences strengthened his confidence. Today, he is able to brew Hong Kong style milk tea and carry out different tasks with ease.
To him, 105 Gibson is more than about work as he also takes tai chi lessons. He especially likes to work during the Friday concerts as it is an excellent opportunity for new visitors to learn about how VIPs work. He sees Jesus’ love when he interacts with staff and volunteers as they are friendly and compassionate. The Centre and Café have shed light in his life by providing him with a second home. He longs to come here as this is where he meets friends, learns and gives back to the community.
When asked what advice he has for other VIPs, he said: “When you encounter difficulties in life, do not hide. Everyone is good at something. Find out what that is for yourself and use this to serve God and the community.”