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September 2010, Volume II, Number 4 PET-Kin Pathways
Reports from the Field
Haiti ~ Myrta finally able to travel
Myrta has had an extremely hard life. Her legs are paralyzed and her husband abused her and left her alone to care for their three children. Each morning, her family members would take her outside and lay her under a tree for the day. Different family members would bring her food, since she had no way to get around.
She was given a wheel chair, but she couldn’t push it herself, especially on the rough roads. On Sundays she would find someone to push her to church, but it was hard going. After church, Myrta had to wait for someone to volunteer to push her home. Then, she was given a PET.
The last time the American group visited her town, Myrta came out of her home pedaling as fast as she could. Her “mission” was to get to the Americans as quickly as possible to thank them again. With a big smile on her face, she shook hands with the entire group. Now each Sunday she pedals, on her own, the half-mile down the craggy road to and from church.
Zambia ~ Congo Border
Unfortunately we don’t have a picture for this report but, with a little imagination, it’s not hard to visualize the events. A truck load of 55 PETs was on its way to Luapula in the Northern part of Zambia. In order to save time and fuel, the driver used a shortcut through the Democratic Republic of Congo. The trip is always a 50/50 chance, because you’re dealing with the Congo borders on two sides, plus a river to cross. A new bridge had been built, which should make life easier, unless you are not Congolese. The driver, and helpers, told guards at the bridge that these PETs are a free gift for disabled people in Luapula. This didn’t make much difference. They said, “We don’t believe you, no one give something this nice to someone freely, special those disable people”. They argued with the border officials for hours. Then, out of nowhere, a severely disabled man was trying to cross the bridge on his hands and knees. One of the men on the truck saw him and said, “He needs a PET; let’s give him one right now.” The border officials could not believe their eyes, nor could the poor guy trying to cross the bridge. The border guards were so caught up in the PET being given to this man that they just let the truck drive away and across the bridge. The PETs were distributed that same day and the truck headed back home (the long way).
Carved out of the Eastern part of the country of South Africa is the small (slightly smaller than New Jersey) Kingdom of Swaziland. It is a poor country plagued by recurring years of drought and infectious diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. Good medical care is extremely limited as there are only about 1/14th the number of doctors per 1000 people in Swaziland as in the US.
A Luke Commission team, who provide (among other things) Bibles and free medical care, noticed a woman “walking” on her hands and knees along a dirt road as she was on her way to pray at her church. She was wearing thick rubber gloves to protect against rocks and sharp thorns. Her knees were covered with calluses.
The team learned that for 54 years, this woman’s only means of transportation was on her hands and knees. Meningitis had left her unable to walk since she was five.
As soon as she was lifted into her very own PET, she was overcome by emotion. She brushed away her flowing tears of joy with her gloved hand. Then she peeled off the gloves realizing with a huge smile they were no longer needed. Waving them overhead she beamed her smile into the crown and filled the air with Hallelujahs.
An Item for Consideration
When you read about situations such as this one please think first about those people who have lost use of their legs and must either depend on others or come up with their own, often quite rudimentary, ways of lifting themselves out of the dirt. This story involves people crippled with diseases (mostly polio and diabetes), severe injuries (land mines and other accidents), or birth defects. As you pray, thank God that most PETs sent overseas arrive at their destinations without incident ~ but some don’t.
This true story has to do with the beating our PETs receive as they are shipped many thousands of miles, and by different methods of transport. Each PET needs to be packed tightly in its box, and heavily strapped to keep the box from dents and rips. What better material to pack the PET with than much needed used clothing.
A shipping container of PETs was recently shipped to Ethiopia where old clothing had been used for packing. Since the organization receiving and distributing the PETs did not know about the clothing, it was not declared at customs and when customs agents found the clothes, they took three weeks inspecting all of the PET boxes, and then required the receiving organization to truck (at their expense) the clothing to an area where they watched as it was all burned. A real tragedy for a people so desperately in need.
As of September 16, 683 PETs have been assembled, packed, and shipped by our wonderful group of volunteers. That day saw the 16th shipment of PETs loaded.
We’re starting a new column with this issue to give the “spotlight” to one of our volunteers. We realize not too many people (especially volunteers) enjoy being in the limelight, and we may have some difficulty getting information about them, but we’ll try.
We’ll let you guess who this person might be. Name it and this person has probably done it. He has been married for 43 years and currently has 6 grandchildren. He is a commissioned lay pastor, missionary (to countries including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Haiti, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico, and Cuba), an Air Force officer for 20 years where he was chief of police and head of logistics, and then a lawyer (law degree from Gonzaga University). Two of his passions are international ministries, and hospitality. Their home is always open to refugees, foster children, and exchange students. He has four advanced degrees (masters in criminal psychology, business management, and education) and then his law degree.
If you haven’t guessed by now, our “Volunteer Spotlight” is shining brightly on our Chief PET Logistician Dick Carpenter. It isn’t hard to see how Dick’s varied background and positive philosophy of life “Be Bold” have uniquely prepared him for the job of making sure all of the PET parts and procedures come together at the right time and place to make it possible to “Lift People out of the Dirt into a Life of Dignity and Hope”. Thank you Dick for your perseverance, patience, and consistency. You are the perfect person to lead us in getting the job done to help those so desperately in need of the life trans-forming difference a PET will make in their lives.
You can contact Dick, at (509) 466-3425, or send us an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For address changes and/or comments about the newsletter, please use this e-mail address. Tax deductable donations may be sent to WCPC PET Project and mailed to 15123 N Little Spokane River Dr, Spokane WA 99208. For information about PET International, visit them at petinternational.org.
Quotes Worth Reading
“The hardest arithmetic to master is that which enables us to count our blessings.” Eric Hoffer
“The brook would lose its song, if we removed the rocks.” Wallace Stegner “He who builds according to every man’s advice will have a crooked house.” Unknown
“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” President John Adams
Location of PET Affiliates in the US
The PET Mission is to seek to reflect the love of Jesus Christ by bringing mobility and dignity to those in developing countries who are unable to walk. PETs are able to be given free because of the networking of hundreds of individual volunteers, donors, prayer partners, support organizations, businesses, and shippers. All PETs are built to a common set of specifications developed by a standards committee. Cost for parts which are not donated or built by volunteers, and some transportation cost is about $250 per PET.