Our morning began on an unexpected note. We were supposed to be picked up at 7:45 am but the time came and went with no appearance of Rufino. Chris and Edward from Yancana Huasy arrived and told us that Rufino was stuck in traffic. Then, a block or so away, we heard and saw a march coming down our street! The moto-taxi drivers were staging a protest for better wages, and walked or drove down the street with national police leading, following and monitoring the sides. We don’t know but wondered if the heavy police presence was related to last week’s protests by illegal miners in Puerto Maldonado, where three people were killed and 20 injured.
So we got a late start! By the time the marchers passed and Rufino arrived, traffic was snarled in a major way. We arrived at Yancana Huasy more than an hour late and the kids we were to see were waiting. It took time to set up our materials, tools and so on resulting in an even longer wait. Yancana Huasy is based out of Our Lord Of Hope Parish in Canto Grande – an amazing place. In the last year they completed construction of the church, which is surrounded by a medical clinic and classrooms and adjoins Yancana Huasy with its rehabilitation facility, special education classrooms and sheltered workshops. Each year the church is turned into a wheelchair clinic for one week while our team is here but it takes some setting up. At last we began – five clients for the five therapist/student teams and we were on our way! Until 2 PM, when we had to move out of our workspace in the church to make way for preparations for its dedication by the Bishop in the evening. It was a very special event and we were glad to cooperate but it slowed us down a bit.
After completing the wheelchairs for two children, eating lunch and moving into the physical therapy clinic for the afternoon, two more kids arrived and we worked until 7 PM and completed 7 wheelchairs for the day. At about 6:30 the Bishop of the Diocese of Choseca was brought to see our work and meet us, and we had a good conversation about the unique individuality of each wheelchair for each child. We left Yancana Huasy to the sound of the choir singing in the church. It was a long day and I hope that today will go smoother! But as the saying goes, life is what happens while you are planning other things…in more ways than one. Take a look at the beautiful kids below!