Alibi’s Ilene Style reports from her volunteer mission in South America
Seeing Pablo for the first time two weeks ago broke my heart. He is a 19 year old boy, who, in January, had an accident at work and became paralyzed from the waist down. He has been in bed ever since, as his family cannot afford a wheelchair. Their house is high up in the sand dunes, and it’s the one that Hermana Jacci and I had so much trouble getting to because there is no road to the house and no path to the door—just rocks and sand and a very steep hill to navigate on foot. I fear that he will never leave the house, unless someone physically carries him out and down the precarious hill. His parents were not home when we visited the first time, and his little brother and sister were keeping vigil over him. He seemed to be in good spirits, but I still had to hold back tears as we left. Hermana Jacci is going to look into resources for Pablo. Her organization has already donated the hospital bed he lays (lives) on.
We went back today to check on Pablo. He now has a makeshift device with which to exercise his paralyzed legs: loops of material that slip over each foot, with a rope attached to each that he holds with his hands to pull up each leg. His parents were there today. They have seven children, although one died. We brought with us a an old sofa that someone had donated, and with the help five people were able to carry it up the steep hill and into the house. It will serve as a bed for one of the children, as they currently have only 3 beds in the house for six people.
I have attached a photo of Pablo and his brother which I took during my first visit there. Today, I asked his mother if she would like a photo of the whole family. She shyly agreed. I think it is the only family photo they have. It is attached, along with some photos of his house, taken as we moved the sofa in.