Almost without realizing it the months have passed and it is again time to report on our activities during the first half of 2014.
Over this period our principal goal has been to provide disabled persons with the equipment they need to mitigate their problems, whether by donating this equipment, lending it for an indefinite period, or providing loans to assist in its purchase. Thus we provided a walker to an elderly person in Chiautla and made four reclining wheelchairs available to people with severe disabilities in Tepexpan and Chiautla. Elsewhere we provided three persons with lightweight wheelchairs that Noé Martínez, our trusted technician, was able to acquire at a very reasonable price from the U.S. This type of wheelchairs provides users with much greater mobility and autonomy, as they can assemble, disassemble and store them themselves. One of these individuals, thanks to this new equipment, is also aiming to take part in sporting activities.
As always, there has been a strong demand for anti-bedsore mattresses and cushions, with the result that all the Kubivent mattresses imported from Germany have been distributed, together with a good number that were purchased or repaired locally.
We had planned to undertake a series of excursions for patients of Tepexpan hospital to archeological museums or sites, but unfortunately these had to be cancelled due to the lack of a suitable means of transport.
Our very special patient Maricela Sánchez continues to receive attention at the Nutrition Hospital with a view to a new kidney transplant. However, until this takes place, she has to undergo dialysis three times a week in Toluca, almost two hours’ travel from the village of San Antonio. She and her parents also have to attend the IMSS hospital in Atlacomulco regularly to deal with bureaucratic procedures. All these journeys involve transport costs that cannot be met by this impoverished family, so at the beginning of the year we decided to grant them a monthly stipend to cover most of this expenditure. Unfortunately our income in recent months has been too low to continue to cover a monthly cost of several thousand pesos, with the result that we have now had to reduce considerably this support, to avoid imbalances in our budget.
There is good news, however: despite her delicate state of health Maricela not only succeeded in completing high school but also passed the entrance exam to the University of Ixtlahuaca, where she enrolled in a psychology degree.
Meanwhile, to our regret, another of our protégées from the village of San Antonio de las Huertas has recently come to the end of a period of very valuable attention. Seven years ago we had met Omar, then a boy of six who spent the day on his mother’s back or listlessly curled up in the corner of his humble home. He was born with spina bifida, and had been unable to move. He showed significantly delayed development and had not been accepted into the village kindergarten, because the teacher could not handle a child in these conditions together with the large number of children already under her care.
Fortunately we were able to place Omar in the Children’s Rehabilitation Center run by Vicentine nuns in Villa Coapa, where he made good physical and intellectual progress. He is a very lively boy with great curiosity and enthusiasm for reading. He has completed year five of elementary school and wants to continue studying. Unfortunately he can no longer stay with the nuns, because the age limit at the center is 12, and an exception has already been made to allow him to stay a year longer. However it is now time to allow another child needing rehabilitation to take his place. On smooth surfaces, Omar is able to handle his wheelchair with great skill and can also walk short distances with the help of his orthopedic device and crutches. However, these acquired skills are not enough to allow him to travel the distance of around one kilometer, over bumpy and often muddy tracks, that separates his mother’s house from the school in his native village. The challenge now is to find a solution that on the one hand will allow him to continue studying (which, at least in theory, is his right and indeed his obligation), and on the other, to attend rehabilitation sessions at least every two months, which the specialist who has attended him thus far has offered to provide free of charge. This latter is very important to avoid losing the advances achieved with great efforts over the years, but represents serious logistical problems.
All that remains to report is our continued support for Rocío, the nursing student, with a contribution to her transport costs and fees. She provides us with regular updates on her progress in her studies.
In conclusion, we would like to thank our friends with all our heart for their generosity, which enables us to provide our modest assistance to people in need. We assure you that we are constantly aware of our commitment to justify the trust you place in us, managing these funds with the greatest possible rigor and efficiency. We are proud of our efforts to reduce administrative costs to a minimum, which represent little more than stationery and occasionally gasoline, since all the work is carried out personally by ourselves.