We’ve been lucky enough to be at Funprobo when the boys from Share a Dream visited.
We met Oli, Guillarme and Nicolas who are travelling South America supporting small grassroots charities by filming and making videos to capture the work of the charity and alongside they look for companies to sponsor each individual charity. They are really proactive and really positive and the end result is a plan to pay for training for a second prosthetist for Funprobo. This had been made even better by the team selecting to send the nephew of Florencio, our current prosthetist, as the beneficiary. This has shown Florencio how much we all appreciate his work and how the charity wants to invest in his and his family’s future as well.
The guys have filmed for a week including me working with the patients and a small bit about being a volunteer here in Bolivia. Video will be up on their site in a month or so.
So I’ve decided (with the advice and support of my knowledgeable horsey peeps back home) that I’m going to aim to get a pony (or two) fit and smart enough to enter e-dressage!
So I have a bit of work to do but I’m aiming to get Diana a lovely grey 5yo with a foal at foot into shape for the first test.
Then perhaps with my brave pants on I can get Sonato the 5yo Arab stallion round another!
In addition at the horse therapy charity we’re also embracing the world of dressage with a plan to get 4 of the boys competing at a walk trot test by the end of their 10 week Hipoterapia program.
Humberto the owner has made me all the school letter markers so we look like proper pros now!
Ambitious? Maybe but I do like to be busy!!!
My first patient to leave the clinic beaming from ear to ear and walking beautifully with one crutch on his new prosthesis walked out today. He is happy for his story to be shared.
Lucas was a bus driver still working at 61years old and had a bad accident in Dec last year involving another vehicle. He survived but others didn’t but the result was he lost his leg below the knee.
Due to the stigma around disabilities here in Bolivia he had then refused to leave his house in case his neighbours and other people saw him until last week when he came to the clinic for the first time. Initially very shy and as he lives so far away from the clinic he had to stay in town and as a result was dropped off at the clinic at 8am and waited there until 6pm to be picked up. So he soon warmed up to us (10hrs a day with people can do that to you!).
He was the first patient here to really get to grips with the ppam aid and he used it 2,3 or 4 times a day while he was at the clinic. Often I’d have to wrestle it off him and convince him to have some lunch or at least a rest. His motivation and attitude was phenomenal.
His prosthesis was made within the week and he put it on for the first time on Wednesday. Partly due to his motivation, partly due to how recently he’d had his amputation and I like to think partly due to his work in the ppam aid he left wearing it and beaming on Thursday.
I have learnt a lot from Lucas in that short time which I’m sure will help me understand more and improve my work with people in his situation in this country. His legacy that I won’t forgot is “saca pecho meta culo” a direct translation of “shoulders back bottom in”!! And perhaps should really have been the title of this post! One very proud Physio here.
So in 1 week I have already found the most amazing place in a valley called Jupapina on the outskirts of La Paz where they have a charity that uses horses for therapy for children with disabilities.
In Bolivia there is still so much stigma around disabilities in adults and children and often parents have to give up a lot more than just jobs to care for these boys and girls.
On Sunday we went to Jupapina and met a wonderful lady called Emma who moved to Bolivia 18 years ago and set up a charity called ‘up close bolivia’ which has started or been involved in a lot of charitable foundations over that time.
The horse therapy charity involvement came about by luck when their neighbour Umberto bought a load of horses with the dream to use them to help disabled children and their parents have a fun and interactive time free from discrimination with the end goal being 10 weeks of Physio and horse therapy and respite for the patents. As well as allowing them to meet people in similar situations as an external support network which they can continue once the term of horse therapy is completed.
And to top it off as well as getting to work with these lovely people at the weekend. Umberto has been kind enough to let me ride the ponies in the week. So I’m teaming up with ‘up close bolivias’ wonderful horse volunteer coordinator Mary to try to bring on and improve some of the ground and ridden understanding of these lovely ponies to help them be relaxed, calm and happy for the riding therapy sessions at the weekends. So I am currently trying to bring on and learn with a lovely 5yo grey called Diana who I’m sure I’ll be talking about soon enough as she’s so smart and learns so quickly she is lovely to spend time with.
So thanks to Emma, Mary, Umberto and ‘up close Bolivia’ I have really landed on my pony loving feet while I’m here!
We’ve made it to La Paz with the most breathtaking views from the plane as we landed.
Met a lovely taxi driver who told us all about the local delicacies (soup with chicken and pork, empanadas, chillies in rice) where the best produce markets are (Al Alto if you’re interested?) took us through the market so we could see what it was all about, then we began the road descent into La Paz from the airport (highest in the world at 12,000ft!).
Wow!! What a view! The city is gigantic he said it is home to over 5 million people and it certainly looked massive.
We’ve got to and settled in the appartment and it is absolutely lovely. Brand new build and in a safe area. We’ve already been to the local shops and got out of breath carrying the bits back up the hill! Perhaps we’ll get super fit living on the side of a steep hill with no oxygen!
Hasta la próxima!
Here we go 🙂
Eeeeeeekkkkkk!!! Nearly ready to go! Said sad goodbyes to all our wonderful friends and family down in Devon! Just 2 more UK journey legs and we’re on a flight and on our way!!!