Live from Lisa, November 2004

Lisa Fernandez wrote in November 2004 from Matagalpa, Nicaragua, where she was overseeing the Sixth Annual Fall Wheelchair Distribution, sponsored by the Wisconsin/Nicaragua Wheelchair Project

Wheelchair distribution started here on Wednesday, November 3. Over the last three days we have fitted and distributed over thirty wheelchairs, and by the end of the next week, close to 100 wheelchairs will have been given out to needy children and adults in Matagalpa and the surrounding barrios, at no cost to the recipients. This will bring the total number of wheelchairs donated by WNWP over the last six years to more than 700 wheelchairs!

Mom looks on as workers adjust young Kendal’s stroller chair. We have a very well organized team here, and the distribution process flows smoothly. Each child is measured and evaluated by a physical therapist before the fitting process begins. The wheelchair technicians are ingenious and exacting in their work. They will take as much time as needed to figure out the best solutions and adaptations of the chair selected for each recipient. These first days of the distribution we’ve had a very good selection of chairs, and each child has gone away with a nearly ideal wheelchair. It always gets harder as the distribution progresses and the inventory of chairs diminishes. Still, we find a solution to every challenge, and every child leaves here with a customized wheelchair and a new sense of freedom.

When the fall distribution is complete, we’ll have a closing celebration, but the work will continue after we depart. The wheelchair shop WNWP founded here in Matagalpa is in operation year-round, and local technicians will provide wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, and other devices as they are requested. The Wisconsin/Nicaragua Wheelchair Project is something we can all be proud of, and on behalf of the people in the Matagalpa area, I thank you who have contributed to this project over the last six years.

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