Monday, October 10, 2011

First ATW to Nicaragua!

Yes, you read the title correctly. We have sent our first wheelchair to Nicaragua.

Juan, a librarian in El Lagartillo, Nicaragua

In the community of El Lagartillo, Achuapa, lives a 42 year old man named Juan, who spends his days in a wheelchair as a result of a congenital birth defect. He has overcome many challenges in his life. He lives in a rustic mountain community with no paved roads, a challenge even for those with two strong legs. The majority of transportation is by foot, horse, ox cart, bicycle and rural bus one half mile away. Community members share a single truck for special events and emergencies.

Old ...

... and new!

Juan sporting his new ATW

An attack by contras in 1984 killed six people in his village, including his uncle, cousin and two school friends. Juan survived the brutal onslaught hidden in a trench, and many others were able to escape thanks to the bravery of the villagers who stayed to defend the community.

Juan is a member of a local community association, Hijos del Maiz, and recently became a librarian in El Lagartillo. He is considered an oral historian of the community due to his remarkable ability to remember events and conversations with accuracy and great detail. He keeps up with international news and listens to daily radio broadcasts.

Test driving the chair in daily living spaces

The Red Thread Promise is proud to partner with a small non-profit—Acción Esperanza / Partnership for Hope (based in Ashland, Oregon)—to provide Juan with a hearty wheelchair that could navigate the rugged dirt roads and paths, replacing the mountain of hand-me-down wheelchairs that he has received in the past.

A single ATW was hand-carried from the states to Nicaragua by representatives from Partnership for Hope who have known and worked with Juan and his community for the past 25 years. We were thrilled to see the smile on his face and hope that this chair serves him well for years to come.

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