Since Ana Julia sold her car we’ve had quite a lot of work to find someone who could drive us to the swimming pool, our weekly outing on Wednesday morning. Before that time Ana Julia had been driving us for months.
It’s not straightforward. The driver should be free on the Wednesday morning and would need a vehicle that can carry 10- 11 people in one trip. We’ve learned that we can approach people to help with this about once a month, but not more often, to ensure that the driver continues to do it with pleasure. Fortunately Ana Julia helped me in the search for a weekly vehicle and driver, and we were lucky 9 out of 10 times, sometimes juggling with plans A and B and, if need be, plan C. Then Ana Julia got in touch with a mini-van company that provides transport between Juigalpa and Managua, but also can arrange trips on request, of course for a fee. But our approach is to persuade the owner of the company to provide us the service free of charge.
So we wrote him a nice letter. As we did not get a quick reply, I followed it up with several phone calls thinking that we had nothing to lose, and everything to gain. See the result in the photograph. Three weeks ago we travelled to and from the swimming pool in some style and luxury.
However, that did not mean the end of the transport saga. Last week the company had to call off the arrangement for that day, so I had to continue my search. But we live in hope that the collaboration with this company will work in most instances in the forthcoming period.
It is nice that we have a different driver every time. The owner employs 5 drivers. During the trip we of course tell about our work, thereby expanding our circle of acquaintances. At the end of the trip we always show our appreciation with a little applause.
Two months ago Loyda had a problem with infected gums; this time it was Maria Helena’s turn. Her teeth are much worse than Loyda’s. So we approached the same dentist who had been so generous in helping Loyda. Having learned from the experience with Loyda, we had taught Maria Helena to keep her mouth open. That worked miracles during her first visit to the dentist.
The dentist needed to have Röntgen photos made as her teeth did not look very OK. He arranged for the pictures to be made two weeks later elsewhere in Juigalpa, and free of charge. There are no insurance companies here that help to pay for this type of expenses.
Maria Helena had two more visits to the dentist, and each time two molars were pulled out with the greatest of ease and the procedures hardly caused her discomfort or pain. This Monday we go again, and probably two more times after that. We do not know what’s ahead to ensure that Maria Helena has got some teeth left to chew her food. We will trust in the generosity and expertise of the dentist.
This on-going dentist story is a good example of how we engage the society in our work. We have to, because we cannot manage without the help of others. But it is also a good way to raise awareness how we can make the world a more friendly place for people with disabilities, nearby, and through this blog, also further away.