Memorable moments in Peru, May 2015

Enjoy these photos of our wonderful team members at various times and places over the last two weeks. Thanks to each and every one, for a wonderful experience!

The chicken stand right outside Yancana Huasy

The chicken stand right outside Yancana Huasy

Ed in the shop at Yancana Huasy

Ed in the shop at Yancana Huasy

Betsy in a training session with Yancana Huasy therapists

Betsy in a training session with Yancana Huasy therapists

Chie at work on a wheelchair

Chie at work on a wheelch

Natalie at the sewing maching

Natalie at the sewing machine

Waiting for a van ride

Waiting for a van ride

Kim in action on a Kid Kart

Kim in action on a Kid Kart

Karissa and Pam with a young friend

Karissa and Pam with a young friend

Mary Beth and Tamara confer

Mary Beth and Tamara confer

April at the work bench in Nasca

April at the work bench in Nasca

Ed works with Lions members in Nasca

Ed works with Lions members in Nasca

Karissa and Laura on the bus back to Lima

Karissa and Laura on the bus back to Lima

Pam assembles seating in Nasca

Pam assembles seating in Nasca

Rufino and friends assemble a Kid Chair in Yancana Huasy

Rufino and friends assemble a Kid Chair in Yancana Huasy

Rick and Tamara with a young friend

Rick and Tamara with a young friend and her parents

Sammie is frequently found at the sewing maching

Sammie is frequently found at the sewing maching

Scott and Lucho collaborate in Nasca

Scott and Lucho collaborate in Nasca

Sammie communes with a young friend

Sammie communes with a young friend

Theresia entertains during the long wait for the wheelchair

Theresia entertains during the long wait for the wheelchair

Morning arrival at Yancana Huasy

Morning arrival at Yancana Huasy

Tamara's contemplative hand sewing

Tamara’s contemplative hand sewing

Kelsey adjusts a head support

Kelsey adjusts a head support

Laura is a great one for cuddles

Laura is a great one for cuddles

How many people can fit in a van?

How many people can fit in a van?

April and the drill press in Nasca

April and the drill press in Nasca

Barb sews a head support cover

Barb sews a head support cover

Pedro and his family surrounded by the EP team at Yancana Huasy

Pedro and his family surrounded by the EP team at Yancana Huasy

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From this year’s students

2015Students

Our wonderful students: Natalie, Kelsey, Chie and Karissa.

Every year we ask our wonderful students from St Kate’s to write a blog for us. What follows is from this year’s group.

Today is our seventh day in Peru working with clients on 24-hour postural care and wheelchair seating and positioning. We have learned a great deal since our first day in Lima and know that more learning will continue through the remainder of our trip.

Throughout our time with Eleanore’s Project we have observed passion and love for improving the lives of children with disabilities and their families. In Lima we had the opportunity to work closely with both occupational and physical therapists from Yancana Huasy in an effort to make 24-hour postural care sustainable for the children served at their clinic. In Nasca we partnered with Equip Kids and the Lions Club to exchange knowledge and skills that will continue to benefit the children after we leave. It has been inspiring to see the growing partnerships and focus on sustainability during this experience.

We have worked with mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, and grandfathers who have traveled long distances, often carrying their children. Upon leaving Eleanore’s Project these children and families finally have a way to get around and engage in new experiences. In addition, information about proper nighttime positioning for each child will improve their sleep, health, and body shape.

Involving the child and their family throughout the process is a top priority of Eleanore’s Project. For example, today we saw a young women, named Margarita. She had a warm smile and genuine enthusiasm for learning. She was very excited about getting a wheelchair and walker to improve her mobility and function both at home and school. As we began the wheelchair fitting process Margarita was very interested in what we were doing and was eager to help us. She quickly caught on to how to use a screwdriver and began removing screws from her chair with assistance. With help she also demonstrated how to adjust each part of her chair. Her energy was infectious and she engaged with several of the other children by singing songs, counting, and showing how to move her chair. She was also very pleased to have her nails painted by Laura. At the end of the day she she said she had made many new friends “nuevos amigos”. Her story shows the importance of recognizing children and families as valuable members of the team. It is true that they know the most about their life experiences and how our suggestions will help them live more fulfilling lives.

Everyday we have seen how the work of Eleanore’s Project can greatly improve the lives of children and their families. We have learned valuable skills related to nighttime positioning, wheelchair seating, working with families who differ in culture and language from what we are used to, and how to adapt to new work environments. We have also seen the immense love families have demonstrated for their children. We are confident that the skills we have learned will help us work with a variety of clients with different needs. Eleanore’s Project is truly work from the heart. Every person gives their all to make sure each child’s needs are met. It has been a pleasure working with this incredible organization!

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Adrian

With a sunny smile, Adrian arrives

With a sunny smile, Adrian arrives

Adrian arrived at the wheelchair clinic this morning around 9:30 am, and was the last child to leave tonight – at 9:00 pm. This very long day began with a two hour drive from his home in Ica before the wheelchair work even began. According to his family he was up at 5 am, excited to receive his new chair! Adrian has athetoid cerebral palsy, which means that he has involuntary uncontrolled movements. His feet and hands can be quite dangerous to those who get in the way and do not understand his condition. No one is more aware of this potential to harm others than Adrian himself. He arrived in an ill-fitting wheelchair this morning with a ten pound weight strapped to one arm, and the other pinned behind his back. He liked this position because it meant that he could not hurt anyone by mistake. He and his parents really wanted a customized wheelchair that would help him feel safe and protect others. How many of us can imagine wanting to be strapped down to gain better control and avoid hurting other people?

Adrian and his family

Adrian and his family

April in the process of creating arm troughs for Adrian

April in the process of creating arm troughs for Adrian

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over almost 12 hours Adrian’s wheelchair team did an amazing job of creating a unique chair to meet his unique needs. When “Plan A” (extremity straps) failed, they went on to “Plan B” and so on. At last success was achieved with custom fabricated arm troughs including padded straps. It was a huge group effort with Kim Davis as the lead therapist and April Pate as the lead tech. As the finishing touches were completed, Adrian fell asleep in his new wheelchair! According to his mother, this was a first – and signalled success.

Finally finished and ready to go home!

Finally finished and ready to go home!

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Scenes from Lima, on to Nasca

Our high tech spray glue hood.

Our high tech spray glue hood.

Yesterday was our last clinic day at Yancana Huasy, and we needed to clear out our space in the church so they could prepare to use it for the weekend. This meant finishing work by 4 pm to start packing up. Several kids will have their wheelchairs completed next week by the Yancana Huasy team, who will continue to fit many more wheelchairs in the coming weeks.

After the packing we had a wonderful night out at Kasa Mama, a traditional Peruvian buffet, celebrating a week of hard work and lots of personal and professional growth for all of us.

This morning we head south to Nasca, a 7 hour drive counting the lunch stop in Canete. There will be time to rest, re-group and view the famous Nasca Lines before we start another round of education and clinics with Equip KIDS and their partners, the Lions Club.

A typical scene in the wheelchair workshop where fabrication takes place.

A typical scene in the wheelchair workshop where fabrication takes place.

Stefany hangs out with volunteers in her postural care arrangement.

Stefany hangs out with volunteers in her postural care arrangement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ed is looking forward to saying goodbye to the flight of 18 steps he has ascending to our lodging at El Caminante every night!

Ed is looking forward to saying goodbye to the flight of 18 steps he has ascended to our lodging at Hostal El Caminante every night!

 

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Green Fingernails

We are fortunate to have some volunteer students translating for us. Several days this week we have had two students from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. They are on a three week service trip to Peru. These wonderful young women interact well with the families and children that come to our clinic. One of the women, Jordan, had some extra nail polish, and when I suggested that the young girls waiting for their wheelchairs to be finished might appreciate getting their nails painted, Jordan lit up.

One beneficiary of their efforts was Stefany, a nine year old girl with significant needs and an engaging smile.

Picture of students Jordan and Christina with Stephany.

Students Jordan and Christina with Stephany.

Stephany showing her painted fingernails.

Stephany showing her painted fingernails.

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Birthdays and Wheelchairs

Today our team member Chie had a birthday. Barb, the faculty advisor had one earlier in the week. We decided that it would be fun to have a birthday cake for both of them. I hatched a plan with our Peruvian friend Margot. She went out and purchased a beautiful chocolate cake complete with cherries and candles. We kept it a surprise until our lunch time – about 1:30. At that point, we got the cake out to everyone’s surprise. Chie blew out the candles. We sang “Happy Birthday” in English and in Castellano, the Spanish spoken in Peru. Then our Peruvian friends insisted that their custom was that the birthday person have a bite of the cake before cutting it, “La mordida”. Below is a picture of Chie taking a bite of the cake!

Chie bites her cake

Chie bites her cake

Happy Birthday Chie!

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Wednesday was a long day…

With many complicated children and therefore complex wheelchairs, it was a long and exhausting day. Our wonderful Spanish speaking OT/ATP, Betsy, is putting in long training hours with the Peruvian therapists. Here are a few photos of the day…

Kelsey (OT student) and Ana (yancana Huasy OT) work together to modify a wheelchair frame

Kelsey (OT student) and Ana (Yancana Huasy OT) work together to modify a wheelchair frame

Tiny Jose Antonio, whom we visited at home last week, received his first wheelchair - here being pushed by his brother.

Tiny Jose Antonio, whom we visited at home last week, received his first wheelchair – here being pushed by his brother.

All bundled up and ready to leave at the end of a long day.

All bundled up and ready to leave at the end of a long day.

 

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Big and little wheelchair riders

At the end of the day we had the fun of seeing a tiny boy, age two, experience the freedom of moving on his own for the first time. Pedro arrived early this morning, and it took all day to complete his chair. He required a very special back support that was constructed from scratch and other modifications. By late afternoon he was the only child left. While he had been placed in and out of his wheelchair numerous times for various fittings, he had not propelled it yet.

It was after 6 pm by the time the last stitches were made in his back cushion cover and the last piece of velcro was in place. At last Pedro was able to sit in his wheelchair, and with encouragement from everyone began to move on his own!

Our team member Ed is a wheelchair rider himself. It was a wonderful sight to see Pedro’s eyes light up as he began to follow Ed and then play “bumper cars” with him! And the eyes of Pedro’s mother were lit up as well – with joy. What a fine way to end the day.

Ed and Pedro having fun together

Ed and Pedro having fun together

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Surprises

Today we were greeted by a banner welcoming us to this week of work at Yancana Huasy. The first day of clinics is usually challenging as we unpack and organize materials, tools and wheelchair accessories. Today was no different.

Welcome banner at Yancana Huasy

Welcome banner at Yancana Huasy

 

 

 

 

 

All of the children who attended today were from CEMDIS, and under the age of 6 years. At that age and stage parents are discovering their child’s unique combination of challenges and capabilities. One such little girl named Juliette surprised her mother today. Laura was entertaining her with a musical toy as she was lying well supported on her back while Pam and Karissa worked on her wheelchair. As Laura held the toy within her reach, Juliette reached out with her fisted hand and pushed the button to play the music. Her mother had never seen Juliette do anything like this before and was astonished as she watched her daughter repeatedly play the music by hitting the button! Today Juliette and her mother both learned something new about her capabilities.

Juliette surprised her mother today!

Juliette surprised her mother today!

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Our team is gathered

Nearly everyone has arrived in Lima, some quite late and with tales to tell about flight delays. One person arrives tonight and then our Lima team will be complete. Here is the list of these great folks and where they come from:

April Pate – Minnesota
Laura Miklautsch – Montana
Ed Looby – Washington
Betsy Burgos – Florida
Pam Richardson – Alberta
Kim Davis – New Hampshire
Sammie Wakefield – New Hampshire
Scott Valentine – New Hampshire
Barb Gilbertson – Minnesota
Kelsey Noah – Minnesota
Karissa Hanson – Minnesota
Chie Yang – Minnesota
Natalie Williamson – Minnesota
Mary Beth Long – Tennessee

Our group still gathered around the table after breakfast this morning.

Our group still gathered around the table after breakfast this morning.

 

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