We flew through
Lots of rain here. The plan was to take a group of students to remote Mwape in
On the other hand, I get to frickin build a screenless hammermill at Disacare! There are few things more thrilling than puttering around Disacare, hacking metal apart, and dodging welding sparks. Plus, once it's built, a hammermill is loud, noisy, violent, and satisfying. Hahaha, not to mention it also saves lots of backbreaking labor for African women, could provide a reliable source of income for Disacare (they would build and sell them) and some income for Light of Hope (a community organization who can run the mill and grind maize for a small fee.)
Disacare builds wheelchairs. Rough, rugged, tough, comfortable wheelchairs, suited for rocky, rutted dirt roads. It's run by disabled Zambians so they really know what makes a good wheelchair because many of them have to use one. One day when I've settled down a little, I'm buying a couple for my apartment, because they're friggin comfortable. They're definitely my favorite chairs to sit in at D-Lab. It's a fantastic idea...provide awesome employment for physically disabled people in a country that's mostly unemployed, and make mobility aids for other physically disabled people, one circle of wholesome goodness...only problem is Disacare's being smothered by cheap, nasty wheelchairs that are imported from China.
In the developing world wheelchair business, the big customers are large NGOs who buy the wheelchairs to donate them to those who need them. And it's really hard to convince a donor to buy a $400 top quality wheelchair instead of six $60 plastic chairs on wheels that fall apart and cause pressure sores. Imagine a cheap, white plastic four legged chair, the type that can be found on many lawns and porches. Imagine sitting in one of those every day for the rest of your life. It would be okay for the first few hours, but then it would quickly turn into a torture chair. Too bad that also sounds like a good idea: make lots of affordable wheelchairs for the developing world and distribute them. Too bad affordable also means low quality in this case, torture chairs not built to last a week in rough dirt road conditions. But what really breaks my heart are the people who think they're really helping out when they contribute to organizations that distribute these torture chairs.
I read an article this summer about a boy who uses crutches to walk and he raised thousands of dollars by scaling
Haha…something else that seems like a good idea. I’m sure it will fall down soon enough, but hey, at least it’s slightly hopeful for the moment.
P.S. Before I left Santa Fe, I tried to spend a night walking. I managed . Incredible. Felt like a kid again scrambling over the moonlit hills and crunching in the snow. Found some places I’d never been before.
…but the take home lesson is I need to cool it and not overdo things. I was so tired and fried afterwards that I didn’t walk any of the other nights thereafter.