This is Rick writing.
We have just started our clinics with kids from Aynimundo – a project started and led by a Dutch architect named Warmolt. Aynimundo demands a lot from their parents – but they get extraordinary results. They do not work with kids if parents are not involved. For example their therapy sessions have three kids at a time – one with the therapist, the other two with their parents. So the parents learn to work with their kids therapeutically, and also learn from and support each other. It was clear that the parents supported one another in our workshops. The therapists who work at Aynimundo are very good. They really pitched in and taught the parents the postural care principles they themselves had learned from Tamara and Sammie last week.
I must tell you about the people who are on the team with us this year. We have an exceptionally good crew. Everyone is very solid technically, and has no ego problems. We all work very hard without complaint. We help and support each other – asking for advice when needed, and giving it when asked. Truly a wonderful group of people.
Our partners at Yancana Huasy are equally amazing. They have learned so much, and taken so much initiative. In the last year, the Peruvian National Children’s Hospital has started referring requests for wheelchairs to Yancana Huasy. We found out this week that, on their own initiative they have started to put on workshops on topics such as measuring children for wheelchairs. We applaud their efforts. The seven years that we have worked with them have been extremely rewarding.
Later Thursday afternoon
One of the really thrilling events that we have the privilege of seeing is the first time a child discovers that if he pushes the wheels of his new wheelchair, his body moves. These kids are so used to being carried everywhere. That is how they move. So a wheelchair presents a whole new set of possibilities and a very different way of being in the world. The first time a new wheelchair user says to himself, “I want to go there”, points his wheelchair in the right direction, and pushes with all his might to arrive at a destination is magical. The look of satisfaction and wonder on his face pays for a lot of hours of preparation. The look on the faces of the parents as they watch their child do this for the first time compensates for even more hours of work.
Today Alexis, a precious three year old, had his first opportunity to be in a wheelchair. He was so serious, and had to work so hard to move the wheelchair. His mom was so great, not coddling him at all, but subtly demanding that he do the work himself even if it was hard. To see him move about very slowly and tentatively at first, but less so after even an hour, filled my heart. He seemed quite bright. I hope that the wheelchair changes his life for the better.