A PET goes upriver in Peru, taken there on a mission trip by April and Jeff Sukup, of the Davis Island Baptist Church, in Florida.
The reader can interpret what Mamuka Chikobava, above, meant by that statement. He lives in The Republic of Georgia, and has been for many years without the use of his legs. In his frustration he has been using the little child’s trike in the photo to sit upon and scoot about.
Some 200 plus are on the waiting list in The Republic of Georgia, including the little girl pictured below. With a child-sized PET she will be able to play, go to school, and live a more normal life.
Rbmah Thanh is sixteen years old and lives with his parents, who are farmers. They are a tribe people, from Montagnon, and do not understand Vietnamese very well.
Rbmah is a victim of polio “since birth”. He is very happy with his PET because it will help him very much in getting to school. He says, “Thank you.”
PET Project in Columbia, MO, collects used wheelchairs, sends them to Hope Haven for refurbishment in the state prisons, and they are then shipped overseas. Following is the report we received from one distributed to Boanerges Antonio Sequeiura Garcia in Nicaragua.
“Boanerges was born in the community of El Manzano with physical disabilities that have restricted the use of his limbs. His mother, Ana, is a single mother with eight children and has been unable to give him the proper care. Boanerges has never had a wheelchair, but was limited to being placed in a chair or bed in the house.
“With the new wheelchair Boanerges will be able to leave the home and attend activities in the community. He is thrilled that he will have more freedom and will be able to accompany his family on outings in the future.”
Persons wanting to donate used wheelchairs should get them to PET Place in Columbia, MO, or to Hope Haven, 1800 19th St., Rock Valley, IA.
Note: The photos from Vietnam in this issue are of very low quality. They were made from a copy of a video, and then transferred from stopped frames in the video. They are very blurred, but we want you to get the images of the impact of a PET upon the lives of the recipients.
The woman above came to the PET/wheelchair distribution in Vietnam walking on all fours – her way of moving about for many years due to a disability. She left (below) with a big smile on her face, driving her new PET.
Hope Haven, a Christian partner agency of PET, made the distribution. Hundreds of people came to receive mobility. They were provided with either wheelchairs or PETs, depending upon their situation and the supply.
Thirty-four years ago this gentleman stepped on a landmine in Vietnam and lost both legs – totally. He has moved about using two low stools, placing his right buttocks on one, then swinging his left buttocks to the next one and on and on, as shown in the photo below. One can only try to imagine the difficulty and indignity of his mode of travel.
He received the GIFT OF MOBILITY and left with a huge smile on his face and a wave of his hand.
PETs are now in 19 countries, and as they have been tested and proven overwhelming numbers of requests begin to come in. The PET distribution in Vietnam, for example, caused this mother to request one for her daughter, Hinh Chup Cam Wha bi Lut. The girl has a leg condition that does not allow her to walk, and she wants to be able to go to school. We have sent her letter to Hope Haven, the NGO that makes PET distributions in Vietnam.
Jeff Sukup, from Tampa, Florida, recently went on a mission trip with a group from Davis Islands Baptist Church, to Honduras. He carried with him a PET made by PET Project Florida (directed by Larry and Laura Hills). The PET was to be given to a worthy recipient yet to be found.
They found a man who was so very thankful for the PET that it made the taking of it worthwhile. The man had one leg gone and the other was not much good. He was a soccer player 30 years ago and the use of his legs was very important to him He did not get out of his one room at all. He had a wheelchair but could not make it go over the rough roads by himself.
Jeff said that when he got the PET he went riding along with no help at all. When they went back a few days later he had already been to visit his family, which he had not done in a long time.
Twenty-three years ago this Vietnamese woman developed polio, and has had to be carried about ever since. But she heard of the PET/wheelchair distribution, and rode away happily on a PET. She was an example of one of the 21,000,000 persons in the world awaiting THE GIFT OF MOBILITY.
The Republic of Georgia: (A report written by Eteri Suladze, ACTS (A Call To Serve) staff person who delivered the PET and wheelchair)
The husband and wife in this report are both handicapped. The wife had polio as a child, and the husband’s lower extremities became paralyzed from an accident at age 18. What surprised me was the spirit of this couple. The man told me that after his trauma he lived with his brother, but he did not want to be a charity case, so he decided to marry and have a family of his own.
They are married for 12 years now. They have built their little house themselves. It is amazing to see how they manage to do all the housework themselves, plus gardening and farming. The potato rows are straight and clean. To make a living the man raises rabbits and sells them, and hatches eggs and sells baby chicks. He showed me the incubators for hatching baby chicks that he had made himself. He took six old refrigerators, took the machinery out of them, and turned them on their sides. He made mesh shelves, and uses a kerosene lamp to heat each one. He hatches 600 chicks at a time.
They would not let us go without a dinner. His wife set a fire in the oven and the man killed a rabbit and a chicken. They also served pickled and fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from their garden.
There is a little creek running from his house and he together with five other families built a little electrical generator. He was in charge of the project. Now the six families have electricity 24 hours a day. He is now helping his brother’s family.
His neighbor has 250 hectares of pasture and they are looking for funding to build a cowshed and buy some cows. He said the PET will allow him to move all around and will make life much easier. It is such a blessing to see that something you do helps people like him and his wife to cope with the difficulties of life.
But most of all I was touched by his words when he said that as precious as the wheelchair and PET are, the most important and encouraging for him is the thought that there are people in a far country who are thinking of those in need and then there are people in this country who are looking for people like him and his wife, finding those who they can help.
“This gives me strength to live,” he said.
Eteri Suladze, ACTS (A Call To Serve) staff, Georgia
While each PET recipient is unique and has different problems, Nguyen Ngoc Thanh, of Vietnam, shown above, is more or less typical. He is 61 years old and lost his legs to a landmine. He is married and has seven children, two sons and five daughters. His wife sells vegetables at the market. His children work at various jobs.
A local government office told him about the PET distribution and took him to get one. He likes it very much and says, “Thank you to all who sent it.”
In the fall of 2001 52-boxed PETs were sent to New Steps, a project of Mercy Ships in Sierra Leone, Africa. Our February mail brought this letter:
“Greetings from Freetown. I wanted to pass on these photographs that were taken at Christmas time at some of the polio camps that we work in. As you can see there are people who are using the P.E.T.s that you sent.
The P.E.T.s have been a great blessing to many of the people in the various polio communities. Our physical therapists have distributed all but 8 of what we received in November.
The hospital ship Anastasia is planning to return again to Freetown within the next twelve months. There will be another couple of ocean containers that will be sent from Texas to meet the ship in Europe in September. If your organization were interested to again partner with Mercy Ships it would be a big help to the disabled of Sierra Leone.
Thanks again for your labor of love.”
– Von Driggs, Logistics Coordinator
Note: The PET Project has written that we would again like to share in their mission – how many? – how soon?
We have assumed from the beginning that the PET has value beyond its important one of mobility — that it can provide for its owner the additional gifts of motivation, and of physical and emotional therapy. Wonderful proof of this came in the form of the following letter from The Republic of Georgia, where we are just starting a major mobility project.
PETs happened to have a great success in Georgia. We have multiple requests for PETs once they have been given to individuals who demonstrate their ability to independently move in their yards and nearby streets, visiting their neighbors and friends. Apart from being mere transportation means PETs quite unexpectedly turned out to be a potent psychological instrument.
To illustrate the above we shall provide one example of how PET helped a 12-year-old boy both to become mobile and to get the spirit to fight his disease. Guram Meskhishvili, 12, is suffering from cerebral palsy. He lives nearby my house and for ten years I have watched his limp body being carried in the old perambulator along the street. When his father learned that ACTS (A Call To Serve) had PETs he applied for one for Guram. I explained to him that PETs were not for patients with cerebral palsy. However, Guram’s father kept coming requesting the PET. We discussed this at an ACTS meeting and decided to give a PET to Guram on the condition that if the child were unable to use it, the PET would be returned.
When some days later Guram’s father came to me and asked me to come and see Guram I was astounded — the boy was sitting (which was almost unbelievable, because he had not been able to keep his back up), gripping the wheel of the PET trying to drive it. His mother told me that when he saw the PET he did not want to leave it and every morning he was asking if the PET was really his. Guram’s parents told me that Guram is spending many hours a day in the PET.
Of course, he cannot sit long and has learned to drive the PET in circles. When he is tired his parents let him lay in the rear part of the PET. His favorite activities are to play in the assembling the PET, using the tools which came with it. His mother said he previously could not very well coordinate the motions of his fingers, but now his coordination is much improved. The boy who is mentally absolutely normal and was suffering because of his physical state, now when I saw him for the second time three months later looked happy and he told me he has good hopes for the future. Guram’s parents asked me to tell you that every morning and night they pray for those who put their hearts, skill and goodwill to make those PETs and give them to those who are deprived of so many pleasures of life. With best regards, Etiri Suladze”
In the spring of 2001 Hope Haven, a partner agency with PET, made a distribution of wheelchairs and PETs in Vietnam. Landmines and war injuries have taken a heavy toll on the people there. Recently PET received a thank-you letter from the man in the photo above.
The photo carries helpful information. It shows that the driver, who has strong shoulders, felt he wanted more speed, so he put a larger sprocket on the top. Since the beginning PET has felt that recipients in the field will often have the ability and creativity to adapt the generic PET to their particular needs. He has also painted the bed red, giving it his own personal touch.
PET is a generic, sturdy, simple one size fits all vehicle, with many possibilities for field alterations to fit individual needs.
Prospere lives near the Baptist Seminary in Haut, Haiti. As a child he had polio, which left his legs useless. He managed to move about by dragging himself along the ground with his arms and hands. When he wanted to go to church his friends would help him into a wheelbarrow and trundle him there. Visiting people from the USA became interested in him and arranged for a wheelchair to be sent to him.
But a wheelchair, with its narrow tires, was never intended to be used on the rocky, uneven ground in his neighborhood, and wore out. Over the years, Prospere had a series of such chairs.
Meantime, he became a radiant Christian, and with the use of a manual stitcher he learned the trade of a cobbler. He repairs all kinds of shoes, sandals, and other leather or rubber goods. He has many friends in his rural neighborhood.
Then friends heard of the PET and requested one for him. Everyone was excited when Prospere’s PET arrived. He quickly mastered the technique of using it, and now travels wherever he wants to go. He can even go into the town of Limbe (4 miles away) along the main road, to the big market to buy groceries, and carry them home in the back of the PET. To say that he is thrilled with it is an understatement.
– Report by Larry Hills
The GIFT OF MOBILITY is distributed above in a seating ceremony in Zaire (Congo) Africa. The PETs are lined up and the recipients placed in PETs and shown how to operate this life changing machine.
Adriano Sustino Mandlate, in Mozambique, had polio has a child, and could move about only by scooting along on his bottom, as shown above. Tom Algiere spotted him and arranged for him to receive a PET. Now Adriano is mobile, as seen in the picture below. He can travel about, and is sitting up in a dignified position where he can look people in the eye and be treated as a worthy human being.
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