Friday, November 27, 2009

Don't blink! Amazing things are happening here in South Africa!

Mat and I had an amazing day at the Mason Lincoln school for the disabled (aka Happy's school).
We had a delivery of 4 more wheelchairs (5 last week) and also spent about 5 hours repairing existing wheelchairs for many students. Mat, myself and the Happy's school maintenance men got to learn many things about maintaining wheelchairs, as Thula was teaching us right on the spot!

This is Thula. His Zulu name comes from being a loud baby and his mom wanted him to be quiet. Thula means "be quiet" in Zulu. We discussed if this shouldn't be my new Zulu name. I think he liked the idea. Hmmmm....
Thula is an amazing gentleman who sells wheelchairs. He not only sells the chairs, but he also decided to help us repair many of the chairs that we already have, many in poor condition. I really enjoyed working with Thula as he clearly is passionate about getting to help people, especially the disabled kids!

We not only got new wheelchairs, but the following picture is of old wheelchairs which we were able to use. We found wheelchairs in a state of disrepair, and we patched together several good chairs from the myriad of broken chairs. Thula taught us much about wheelchair repair, and you can also see several of the school's maintenance men working (in the back corner) with us to assemble usable chairs. Most excellent!

In this picture, Mat and I are repairing the brakes on one of the wheelchairs. Mat says "It's amazing how many parts of the wheelchair can be fixed with a hammer and a good 'whack'"! How true it is Mat, how true it is!

I love this picture. What you see here is a wheelchair that has had the following:
1. New back cushion
2. New seat cushion
3. New wheels
4. Adjusted brakes
5. Seat brackets
6. Oil and Lube and new windshield wipers...

(Just kidding on the O&L)

Look closely to see if you can spot the custom "Spoon holder"

It's amazing the difference this makes in the usability of the chairs. Prior to the change, these seats were wired to the frame and the brackets were broken. This means the young person had seats that moved back and forth, and wire rubbing against flesh. Not pleasant at all...Also the tires were torn up and not in-round, which means the chair wasn't smooth when rolling. Not even pleasant...

And here is Thandika, who has just gone from a full-size wheelchair that is clearly too large and uncomfortable for her, to a smaller wheelchair that is just her size. The smile says it all!

It is also notable that Thandika is also one of the students of the Happy's Bible class that meets twice weekly, and is always in attendance when we are able to get the Happy's students to one of our youth weekends!

It is so amazing to be able to help others in this fashion. There is nothing quite contributing in a way that is real and effects immediate change in the welfare of others, especially when it is truly appreciated.

Thank you for your sharing in our efforts and God Bless you!

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