Crave in the Dark by Dialogue in the Dark, Egypt

For some Dialogue in the Dark partners, re-opening venues have been a roll coaster experience going from constantly changing restrictions for public events to mistrust of visitors towards in-person gatherings.

Photo of a guide standing next to a wall on which a writing says "Crave in the Dark"
Photo of restaurant guests with blindfolds, sitting at a table, eating.

This was also the case for Egypt, which after the re-opening tried different ways to engage the visitors with the DiD mission.

DiD Egypt has been very creative in this pandemic time. When faced with a total lockdown, they launched the Box of Exploring to bring the DiD experience home.

In the recent DiD international meeting they have introduced the Crave in the Dark initiative. It is about giving guests the chance to dine in the dark. Not only is the restaurant almost completely darkened, but guests are also asked to wear blindfolds. At the beginning, they are not informed that they will be served their meals by visually impaired persons. The guests only realize so after they take their blindfolds off.

New ideas often require building partnerships. DiD Egypt partnered with Tico Egypt which is the entity behind multiple restaurant chains, one of which is "Crave" where the event was held and the reason behind the naming of the initiative.

Crave in the Dark was introduced on October 14th in celebration of World Sight Day at two different locations/restaurants. The number of visitors was limited to 28 per location owing to the current restrictions dictated by the pandemic. Visitors were positively overwhelmed with the tiny details that were planned with care. For instance, guests were pleasantly surprised and in awe at the end when they realized that the guides who served them were visually impaired. Similarly, the guests were pleased to find place cards with their names written in Braille on their plates. Moreover, guests had the chance to eat a "mystery meal" and guess its contents in exchange for a ticket to visit DiD Cairo.

The expectation for this experience is that the hype will keep increasing, especially that it's being kept very exclusive due to the pandemic. According to DiD Egypt, interest in attending the event is constantly on the rise and messages on social media pages are constant.

For this event, the blind guides were trained 3-4 weeks for the event, and they got the chance to explore both locations and map out their ways for efficient mobility. They were very fast on picking up and following the instruction and their performance was superb on the day of the event. At the end of the event there was the chance for a for a dialogue among blind guides and visitors which moved some guests to tears.

And this is the way out from crisis: think out of the box, build partnerships, and never give up. Congratulations to the DiD Egypt team, we admire your resilience, and we are sure that DiD Cairo will continue to remain in the attention of visitors!