Getting Over the Rough Places

Saw this video and accompanying article on the challenges disabled people face in the developing world. Really struck home, because I often wonder how The Boy would possibly manage if we didn't live where we do. I mean, it's hard enough getting around -- what if the streets weren't paved. Or even if there were no streets at all?

The article I've linked below talks about the impact of PETs -- Personal Energy Transportation. Basically an off-road, hand-powered, heavy-duty tricycle.

The cool thing is, my mom's cousin, a retired missionary now living in Florida, makes these. Small world, huh.

Here's the article:

A 360-degree immersion showing what it’s like to live without mobility in Zambia
By Sarah Hill

Shot from the perspective of people who live on the ground in Zambia, this 360-degree video provides a unique immersion into what it’s like to live there without adequate mobility, and the obstacles endured trying to navigate the country’s rugged terrain. But it also highlights one solution that is, quite literally, lifting people such as Emmanuel Chilufya off the ground.

Born with cerebral palsy, Chilufya found it difficult to walk as a child. Then, as he grew older, walking became impossible. As an adult, he told us, his hands would bleed from crawling on the ground.

Sitting on what looked like an all-terrain tricycle, Chilufya described how his mother used to dig a vertical hole, bury his legs up past his waist and leave him that way for hours. Without access to orthopedic devices in Zambia, it was one mother’s desperate attempt to try to straighten her son’s bent legs so he could walk.

Chilufya is just one of 66.5 million people who lack access to wheelchairs, according to the World Health Organization. And even if they did, wheelchair wheels are too thin to navigate some terrain in undeveloped countries. So some people with disabilities drag their bodies through the mud, sharp rocks and trash.

Chilufya’s trike is called a “PET,” which stands for Personal Energy Transportation, a three-wheeled, hand-cranked cart. The PET project started in 1994 after a missionary accidentally stepped on a woman crawling through the African bush. The Rev. Larry Hills pulled back the weeds and noticed a woman on the ground scooting on her belly. “She was crawling with a baby on her back,” Hills said.

PETs, mostly built by volunteers in the United States, are now in more than 100 countries worldwide, providing mobility options in places where wheelchairs can’t go.

“Yes, I can walk,” Chilufya said, beaming as he sat atop his trike.

Sarah Hill is a 20-year veteran of the broadcast industry. Before starting StoryUp, she built a successful TV feature franchise and the world’s first interactive news program based on Google hangouts. Hill’s reporting has taken her team around the world covering stories about the human spirit in Vietnam, Guatemala, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and now Zambia.

Original on Washington Post:

Through the Roof

A Blog Supported by the Mosaic ministry of Third Church, ECO

"Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on." (Mark 2:3-4)

About: This is a blog about accessibility, intimacy, and community. About being welcome.  It’s also about bringing up The Boy. He's 11 years old and has cerebral palsy. Also popping up are The TeenGirl, who just turned 13, and The Mom, who is awesome. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.