More of what Pat wrote on our last road trip.
(You can see why I enjoy so much having Pat come along on road trips.)
(Now if only I could get her to frame these pictures.)
POWERING UP SOME POWER CHAIRS
Since we were going to Huehuetenango to visit Maria Garcia, Dick
wanted to take care of a few power chair issues in the area. We had
said this would be a leisurely trip, and I feared that adding the extra
stops would turn it into a regular work trip. I was wrong, though. We
paced ourselves, only visited one family a day, and had plenty of time
to enjoy visiting with them without having to rush off to the next stop.
first stop on the way up to Huehue was to drop off batteries with
Oscar. He is in his mid-twenties, but still is attending school, having
finished sixth grade this year. While school is not currently in
session (“summer” vacation until mid-January), we didn’t know when we
would be back in the area, and wanted to make sure he was ready to go
when classes resumed.
I first met Oscar a little over a year ago.
Dick had just given him a power chair, and it needed adjustment. Oscar
was very used to having his own way as to how he was seated, regardless
of the damage it might do to his body. Dick was almost dreading our
visit today. All we were going to do was drop off batteries.
were so pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the house. The family
had paved the driveway, and had cleaned up the open center of their
house, and covered it with cement and grass. It was beautiful. And
they had done this primarily so Oscar could move about more freely. We
were blessed to see a family taking such interest in providing mobility
for one of their members.
were even more encouraged when we saw how well kept the power chair
was, even tough the batteries had been dead for some time. It was a bit
of a challenge getting the new batteries in (I won’t repeat what Dick
said about the design of this particular chair!), but the chair worked
well with the new batteries. We figured out that Oscar’s batteries had
lasted about as long as any we’ve seen here, partly due to the care the
family has taken of the chair.
were surprised again, when it came time to put Oscar in his chair.
Both of his brothers were there, and they proceeded to seat him quite
properly. Since they spoke Quiche to him, I couldn’t understand exactly
what was being said, but from the tone of voice I figured out that he
was protesting how they were positioning him, and they told him pretty
firmly that he needed to sit correctly. He gave in pretty quickly and
Dick was happy to see him sitting better than he had in the past.
You can see the difference a properly fitted chair makes!
a glass of coke, and a cup of atole, we left with two large bunches of
broccoli to take with us to our hotel in Quetzeltenango!
second day into our trip we were both anxious to see Gema, one of our
favorite little girls. Since she can’t propel a manual chair, her power
chair gives her the freedom to go to school, church, and move about her
home. It had been broken for a while, and we were bringing it back
after it was repaired in the Bethel Ministries shop. We knew she
couldn’t wait to have it.
was quite a challenge for Marcos and David to get the power chair down
to Gema’s house—at the bottom of this steep hill. During the school
year she will keep it at another house where she can more easily drive
We met Gema
a few years ago at a Hope Haven distribution, and were immediately
struck by her out-going personality and self-confidence.
is more remarkable, considering she only has one short leg and foot.
If there ever was a person deserving of the title “handicapable” it is
Gema. We have seen her bounce around on her bottom chasing her pet
rabbit, watched her feed herself, and enjoyed playing ball with her.
family, too, is remarkable. They have completely focused on what she
can do, and figured out, without the help of “professionals,” how to
adapt things so she can be as independent as possible. They love to
brag on her, and have her show us what new things she has learned since
our last visit.
Here Gema is showing us how she can
play games on her dad’s cell phone!
we were treated to her singing the sweetest songs as we drank our
soda. She then told us she had passed first grade with flying colors
and would be starting second grade in January. She is a good student
who received no “rojos” (failing grades) this year. We celebrated her
success with her!
we were about to leave, Gema’s mom showed us the Mother’s Day present
Gema had made her in school—a cross-stitched cloth to use in her bread
basket. Her needlework was as good as mine (not saying much, though)
and I was amazed at how well she could sew with only her foot.
soon it was time to head off for Huehuetenango, but not before we were
reminded that the family owed us a chicken dinner. We promised to let
the know ahead of time when we would be back through their area. It was
hard to leave such good friends.
Gema had just whispered in my ear that she wanted a Barbie for
Christmas. Oh, how I wish I’d known that earlier and could have brought
Once again, Thanks Pat.
Yours in Christ. Dick