My friends, the luck of the Irish must have been with us today. Our boxes arrived just before lunch. It may be sad to say but we were exstatic. Our team was able and ready to set to work. Today was as close to perfect as it could be. We spent the rest of the day...."working"...and damn it...it was fun!!. We set to work evaluating patients, taking measurements, getting to know our new friends.
The morning started of with many warm reunions of old friends and patients. Those of you that followed our trip last year may remember some of these names.
Julie....Esteban and myself fit Julie with below elbow prosthesis last year. She was there and smiliing to greet us. Taking pictures and looking so great. After some hugs and kisses, Esteban and I spoke..."did you see Julie? Did you see the way she was using her prosthesis so naturally?" We both did. ;-)
Jonathan, an above the knee amputee that we fit with a prosthesis just last year, was there. He looked a little different. Jonathan was wearing an employee's uniform. Unbeknownst to us, Jonathan, after being fit with an above knee prosthesis the previous year went on to PTA school to learn to be a therapist. He is finishing his studies and hopes to continue to become a physical therapist. He is truly an inspiration and is a living, breathing, shining example of why this kind of work is necessary and worthwhile.
I cannot tell you how excited I am about Manana. With great people to work with, supplies and such motivated patients, only great can come. In a few short days some of these people will take steps on 2 feet that have not done so in years.
In the end, and in many cases it is not about simply giving a person a leg to walk on. Rather, it is about giving back control over their own life; to go and grow and choose what they do and become who they want to be; removing the obstacle of immobility and handicap. Yes, who they want to be may have changed along the way, but THAT is the exciting journey of life. Some are no longer handicapped; rather, they are enabled and inspired.