YEARS LATER I AM STILL HAUNTED. It was the early days of the Charity, and I was in public transport rattling around the roads from one poverty stricken area to another.
I happened to look left and there, on the edge of the highway, I saw one of the saddest figures I have ever seen. A man who was a double amputee was painfully placing his palms flat on the road before swinging his trunk and stumps behind him onto the tarmac. He was travelling from one town to another in this way in 40 degree heat.
I tried to get the transport to stop, but it was dangerous to turn back on a highway and the man was no longer in sight.
I spoke to my colleagues and told them of what I had seen. Resignedly they told me that this was a familiar sight.
People with double amputations or one limb missing and in destitute circumstances just don't have access to services to ease their daily living.
As I worked in the tent camps, I saw many other double amputees sitting on planks which had small roller skate wheels lashed underneath begging for a push by a friendly hand across the busy roads.
I saw another elderly gentleman being pulled along on one of these planks. His small grandson (who looked not yet eight) laboriously pulled the wheeled plank along by means of two ropes lashed to his tiny back.
The resigned stance of that little back bent to the task with a hopeless little face bent towards the dust before him as he pulled on the ropes broke my heart.
Paralysed since birth
In another outlying village I was told of one young lady - paralysed since birth - who has not left her pallet on the floor for years.
Her mother and sister are unable to carry her. What is needed, of course, are wheelchairs, crutches and services for those who lack mobility.
So many people in rural areas, tent camps and war areas are in need of assistance with proper equipment for their disability.
Perhaps Divine Providence led you to read these words.
In the spirit of Lumiere, is there anything you can do to help?
With thanks to Wheelchair Foundation