I have now come to the endpoint of my travels – Zipolite and the hard working team of Pina Palmera. The community visits are running at full steam even though the recent change to the Daylight Savings Time (a few days ago in Mexico) has confused most of the attendants. People come in groups, some thinking it is 10 am others opt for 11 am – almost everyone lives without a clock or a watch and they run the day based on the amount of daylight, not on some convention of hours and minutes. Nevertheless, it is full house again: parents, relatives, children with various disabilities. Lessons for the deaf with Miriam, games and discussions with Mariana and the physical therapy corner with Sofia. I am able to help a bit and am trying to befriend a little indigenous boy with spina bifida while also trying to teach his mother how to help him improve his balance.
Pina teaches acceptance of the disabled but I must say acceptance works both ways: I am surprised to see how fast the little one becomes engage in play with me – a foreign face that first made him cry and hide in mother’s lap.
This year the Canadian occupational therapy students are again present in full force. The 2 students form Ottawa have managed to transform an old baby stroller into a much needed wheelchair for 7year old Pablo. Handling the uneven Mexican terrain is no simple matter and most wheelchairs fall apart fast.
Not only are wheelchairs impossible to purchase by most families, they are bulky and too fragile for this environment. However, this innovative version will allow the mother a bit of freedom – not an easy task to carry around a 7year old! – and enable Pablo to explore his surroundings with better posture and more independence.