Choosing the load

After two days of solid work in the Hope Haven International Ministries (HHIM) warehouses, Sammie and I are ready for a good dinner and rest! Yesterday we worked all day selecting and labeling wheelchairs for each individual on the list of referrals from our colleagues in Peru. Kate Barrett, occupational therapy professor from St. Catherine University joined us and three was the perfect number for what we were doing.

Treasure hunting went well and here is part of our haul!

It may seem straightforward to select wheelchairs based on style and measurements but there are a myriad of variations that could make or break the end result. We also check the function of each chair: does it have footrests that fit properly? Does the tilt-in-space mechanism work? If it did not pass this triage it was returned to the HHIM folks to address the quality control issues. Taking the time to do this will save us hours of work and stress when we are in Peru in March.

We left the warehouse at Ireton, Iowa after 8 p.m., to a stark black sky pierced with stars. This is Sammie’s first time driving through the wide open spaces of Iowa and South Dakota – one of the timing factors in this enterprise is the distance between warehouse locations – yesterday it was at least an hour on each end of the day.

Today Kate headed back to St. Paul and Sammie and I set out to finish what we started yesterday. At the Sioux Falls warehouse we had to select 44 more wheelchairs for individuals, plus gather hardware and accessories. After lunch it was back in the car to drive another hour to Rock Valley, Iowa where we spent a wonderful afternoon going through a huge mound of therapy and rehabilitation equipment. Sammie and I were in our element – it was like Christmas! We were able to find many treasures that were on wish lists from our colleagues in Peru. This equipment will be so appreciated by its new owners and will make many lives better.

As we drove back to Sioux Falls this afternoon we were treated to a gorgeous sunset, which was a fitting end to a wonderful day.

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