Our advance team arrived in balmy Lima last weekend and has been involved in preparations for our two weeks of wheelchair clinics. We are also your humble bloggers.
- Julian Kittelson-Aldred – Julian is, among other things, Eleanore’s big sister. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota where she works as a freelance web designer. She loves having the freedom to do things like run off to Peru for a month each year. She’s been with Eleanore’s Project since the beginning.
- Sammie Wakefield – Sammie is a semi-retired occupational therapist (OT) with a seating and mobility specialty. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband Dick. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in a variety of areas, from sewing and mending to complex wheelchair modification. This is her 5th expedition with Eleanore’s Project. She and Mary Jo Wagner (more below) sent over 1000 pounds of positioning equipment and supplies for the wheelchair clinics.
- Tamara Kittelson-Aldred – Tamara is an OT with a pediatric seating and mobility specialty and the director of Eleanore’s Project. She lives in Missoula, Montana with her husband Rick (who is also along this time). She is Eleanore and Julian’s mother.
Two more team members joined us on Friday night:
- Carolyn Kelly, an OT who specializes in wheelchair seating and mobility. She also offers training on wheelchair skills for caregivers, professionals and wheelchair users. She’s from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has worked with Eleanore’s Project three times in the past, all Jordan expeditions. This is her first time to Peru.
- Steven Fox, who works for Sunrise Medical (a large manufacturer of wheelchairs and durable medical equipment). He is a trained wheelchair technician from Denver, Colorado. He’s a first-time volunteer and will only be with us in Lima due to work obligations.
We were up late on Saturday night welcoming more team members as they arrived at Jorge Chavez airport. We greeted:
- Hugh and Barb Sheehy, who are close friends of the Kittelson-Aldred family. They own a ranch in western Montana. Hugh brings experience with mechanical repairs and Barbara will help with administrative tasks as well as entertaining children who are waiting for their turn.
- Laura and Emily Miklautsch, a mother-daughter team from Florence, Montana. Laura uses her experience as a para-professional in special education to keep children happy while they’re waiting. She is a long-time volunteer, having joined us three times already. Her daughter Emily is joining us for the first time this year and we’re excited to have her Spanish skills.
- Rick Aldred, also known as Eleanore and Julian’s dad and Tamara’s husband. He’s the designated photographer, helps with translation and makes sure everyone takes water and snack breaks.
This marks the fourth year that Eleanore’s Project has collaborated with St. Catherine University’s Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy to offer a fieldwork experience to graduate OT students. Kate Barrett is the professor in charge of this program and will join us along with four students: Sarah Iberson, Krystal Tschumperlin, Tessa Berg and Molly Wadsworth.
This morning, Mary Jo Wagner, an OT from Beverly, Massachussetts, joined the team. She works as a seating and mobility specialist in Beverly, Massachussetts and worked with Sammie to acquire and pack 24 boxes of donated, new and used supplies. This is her second time to Peru with Eleanore’s Project.
We’ll meet the final member of our team the night before we leave for Arequipa. Kevin McPhee has been learning all about wheelchairs from his girlfriend Carolyn Kelly and will put his new skills to work in the Arequipa clinic. He’s from Halifax Nova Scotia and brings a variety of mechanical skills.
The clinic will begin tomorrow morning at Yancana Huasy, so everyone’s resting up for the busy week ahead.