Sue Wilson, an elementary principal from Longview, Texas, traveled with LIMBS International as part of our Learning for LIMBS program.
Here is her story.
The trip to the Dominican Republic has been one of learning about LIMBS International, the people of the country, the altruistic work of ILAC Mission and the beauty of people everywhere. While the country is beautiful, poverty is everywhere and there is so much need. On the first day of our stay, we visited a hospital and I was astounded by the number of people needing medical care and the mass chaos of the hospital. People were going to and fro and it seemed no one was in control, however, Riccardo Gonzales and Trevor Bergman made a positive connection with the Administrator for the Prosthetic Department in an effort to continue their working relationship. LIMBS fitted two gentlemen with knees today.
One man was in his mid 40´s and was once a roofer. He fell on the job and broke his ankle and since he was diabetic and the ankle never healed, the infected leg had to be amputated. He cannot find a construction job and tried selling fruit on the street but they shut him down because he did not have a permit. The permit is $200.00 and he is not able to afford that, so there is a ´ripple effect´ when these injuries occur.
The second young man was 35 and lost his leg when he was just 9 years old. He was using a machete in the field and cut his leg. Again the leg got infected and he lost his leg almost up to the hip. He has had an artificial leg for the past 16 years but it was wooden, heavy and too short. Riccardo and the prosthetist here, Ranvier fitted him with a new light weight knee and you should have seen the look on his face. He put his hands in the air as if he had just won the Olympics and was smiling from ear to ear. He is a barber by trade and had a fabulous spirit and wonderful attitude. His smile was wonderful. Monday is a day I will never forget.
Father Bill, the priest at the mission, ILAC Mission, has a true giving heart and a wonderful new friend. He is down to earth and has connections with his neighborhood and the people here. What a tremendous partnership LIMBS has with this man of God and ILAC Mission. He states we are all made in the image and likeness of God and we are very good (Genesis 1 31). His campaign is Show Your Goodness.
On Tuesday, the team worked at the ILAC Mission satellite prosthetic lab refining parts, refitting and adjusting existing knees and making further connections. Two patients were seen and cared for by the team. So much of LIMBS success is through building relationships with the hospitals, administrators and the people.
Wednesday, we traveled to the capital city Santo Domingo to visit a hospital there. The director of the prosthetic lab and the men who make the artificial knees were impressed with the LIMBS knee. At first they were all skeptical but as they examined the knee, saw it our patient Ramon, their attitudes went from an attitude of why are we here, to absolute joy to, when can we get this! They were impressed with the knee and know they can help more people because of cost and quality of the LIMBS Knee. The city was full of history and as beautiful and complex as the people.
Thursday, is our last full day in the Dominican Republic and at the Mission ILAC. Because of the partnerships of the mission, hospitals, people and prosthetic technicians, this has been a trip full of awesome experiences. Although work at the mobile prosthetic lab continues today, I am filled with bitter sweet emotions as I know we will leave this country tomorrow morning. A country filled with abundant beauty and tremendous need.
Sue Wilson, Principal Hudson PEP, Longview ISD, Longview, Texas