I do not think there is a greater need for wheelchairs in Zambia than anywhere else in the world. The problem is they are hard to get here and very, very expensive. There are several designs that utilize bicycle parts to transverse rough terrain.
They are basically good but tend to not be fitted properly for long-time use and frequently cause sores that are rarely treated and can develop beyond an easy cure.
Below is Elder Allen Lyle with part of a shipment of over 300 wheelchairs on his porch that he and his wife will distribute in Zambia, along with 50 walkers and 150 pairs of fancy crutches.
LDS Charities is the arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that funds these humanitarian projects. This was printed on the boxes.
The Lyles pay their own way and living expenses while in Zambia. After their time here they will go home to their grandkids just like we will, and others will come and take up the projects they are doing.
Along with the wheelchairs came a team of volunteers, who are experts in the assembly of the chairs and fitting them to those in need. In the photo below they are training technicians, chosen by the Ministry of Health, from all over Zambia.
Here is where the technicians will learn about proper assembly.
Then they are instructed in the procedures to ensure that there is a proper fit for each recipient.
Once the theory was covered and a little practice took place, the local hospitals provided 30 patients for the technicians to share their new skills with. Some came by bus, some by taxi or private car.
I got to gather a couple and help them inside. They were so grateful.
Next they were processed so that any specific needs could be met.
Jobs were rotated and basic chairs were assembled.
Then the individuals were fitted properly. I was really amazed at all the different measurements and adjustments to make sitting all day more bearable for them.
Below is Mary Chatanga. She is twelve years old and has MS. She is the daughter of Robby Chatanga, who cleans my office every week. Mary's mother has carried her everywhere since she was born. At twelve years of age she is getting heavier but still Mary's mother gets her on her back and moves her around. This was a BIG day for the Chatangas.
Do you think Mary looks happy?
She now goes to school two days a week. Next year she will be able to go every day.
What a life changer.
I get a little jealous of Allen and Karen Lyle. Making people happy is what they do everyday.
I will show you more of what the Lyles have been doing in later posts. I think one amazing thing about these projects is the many self-supporting church volunteers who serve all around the world. When a dollar is donated to LDS Charities, that dollar goes to help improve lives and it is not used to cover "overhead costs" that many other charitable organizations take off the top of their budget.
Just as it says on the carton above, LDS Charities goal is to "Strengthen Families."