Today there were 7 children scheduled for our wheelchair clinic from Aynimundo, a CBR program located in a different part of Lima. We have worked with them for several years, and Yancana Huasy is kind enough to open their doors and allow us to serve the Aynimundo kids in their space. As it happened only 5 children came, because two were ill with seizures. Also on the schedule were two boys from Hellen Keller Association, another wonderful CBR program with whom we have worked in past years. Although they submitted their applications too late for our deadline in November, I agreed to replace the outgrown 2008 wheelchairs of Hans(6) and Axel(12) even though we could not serve the others.
The children today ranged in age from two years to teenage. Maximo, age 2, was my first kiddo of the day. I was greatly touched by his mother’s story as she described his preterm birth following an in-utero infection, and first several months in hospital. Elizabeth is a great mom, very practical and shared her experiences with loss of friendships and family support because of her son’s disabilities. We shared many common experiences and feelings despite our differences in language, culture and age. Maximo has never learned to sit, being accustomed to lying stiffly when he is not being held. He had lots of tone and was he strong! But he was also a social little guy who was full of smiles.
Maximo was not keen on bending at his hips and knees but we talked about the importance of his learning to tolerate bending, and he looked great in his Kid Kart once it was fitted to him. Elizabeth said she was looking forward to taking him all over in the chair, including to his father’s soccer games!
Sammie spent all day working with Greysy, a lovely young lady whose twin brother, like her, was born deaf. However he does not have cerebral palsy as she does. Greysy had never before had a wheelchair that she could tolerate sitting in, despite her parent’s efforts. They had bought her a “clinical wheelchair” which is a basic folding wheelchair, and had tried to make some adaptations. Creating a wheelchair for Greysy was an all day project but the result was beautiful and everyone went home happy!
Toward the end of the day we said goodbye to team member Rosa, a native of Lima who now lives in Florida. She has been a huge asset to our work for the last four days as a translator. Translating is hard work, and we so appreciate all that she did! She says she will be back with us next year and we hope so. Thank you Rossy!
The final adventure of the day took place on the way home. Perhaps ten minutes from our guesthouse, the van developed a flat tire. With Rufino at the wheel we were all safe, but in Lima traffic there was no place to stop and the van had no spare tire anyway. Rufino drove slowly to our guesthouse and we arrived safely. Most of the group went up to dinner; I made a sandwich for Rufino and then Sammie, Kate, Rick and I stayed to watch over the van as he took off the tire, flagged down a taxi, took it to a service station for air, flagged down another taxi and arrived back with the tire. He put the tire back on in record time and was on his way but it was late after a long day.