Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wheelchair update

A representative of our Wheelchair Promise Program just returned from Haiti with a much anticipated update on the container of wheelchairs. As you may recall, our first shipment of 100 All Terrain Wheelchairs (ATWs) arrived in Port-au-Prince in June and we've been waiting (im)patiently for the completion of all paperwork and procedures so that the shipment will be allowed inside the country.

We recently found out that the arrival of our container in port directly coincided with the Haitian government's revision of all processes and paperwork concerning any shipments into the country.

Caleb (Hosean), our fearless contact on the ground, has gone to port three times with the appropriate paperwork over the past 10 weeks. With each trip, he was greeted with regulations that have changed, requiring additional documentation and legwork. Thus our long wait for the wheelchairs release.

Thankfully, there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. There is one final requirement: we have to identify all 100 ATW recipients by name so that the government can verify that the chairs are being donated, not sold. This is not an easy task, but we have faith in our Haitian counterparts to provide this information by the end of this week so that we can finally move forward. If the names are not submitted, we start the process all over.

Please send positive thoughts and prayers to Caleb and Willem (MTM) as they gather this information and return it to the proper authorities by the governmental deadline of this Friday.

Following the release of the wheelchairs, several of us will be traveling to Haiti for a week to assemble and distribute them, as well as train Haitians to maintain and repair the chairs. Most importantly, it will give us the opportunity to meet those in need of mobility and offer them much deserved hope for a better future.

On a positive note: unless there are further changes in the process and/or paperwork, we now know what to expect when our second container ships. That container is already more than half way full, thanks to your generous donations. If you are interested in making a donation toward an ATW for a recipient in Haiti, please contact or call 817.320.6522.

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