Well, actually it was Bryan/College Station, Texas, but I couldn’t resist the small dig from a TCU Frog. (For my Canadian and UK readers, there’s a huge football-and everything else-rivalry between Texas A & M University and other Texas schools, especially University of Texas, where my husband went to law school, and Texas Christian University where I got a graduate degree.) So we get a chuckle out of the idea of a mission trip to their land.
Eleven members of Ridglea Presbyterian Church church traveled south on Friday to spend all day Saturday making PETs. No not animals, but Personal Energy Transportation for people in third world countries who aren’t able to walk.
Here’s the bus. I sat over the wheel cover so I could prop my feet. Very wash-boardy ride. I kept trying to thing of how to write how it felt. The best I could dome up with dh-dh-dh-dh-dh, said very fast. Picture taken at the end of the work session.
According to the Brazos Valley P.E.T. brochure:
The United Nations estimates 22 million people have lost the use of their legs due to birth defects, landmines, disease or accidents. 15 million are bedridden, or have use of a standard wheelchair. That leaves 7 million people depending on family to carry them or crawling on the ground.” Sometimes that’s with a child on their back.
I don’t know about you, but I can hardly imagine that situation.
About twenty years ago, a man saw the need and developed a different mode of transportation. His design has been subtly tweaked over the years, and this is what it looks like now.
Jean Hadley, Dick Witherite
We started our day moving tires then we relocated long pieces of wood. Then we got general instructions and split up to learn a piece of this very complicated process.
Cutting steel for the front end. Martin Cleworth
Assembling front end.Dick Witherite, Jean & Steve Hadley
The completed front end.
Cutting wood to make the seat and box.
Allison Cleworth & Mike Strange
Cutting material and gluing it and stapling it to the wood to make a seat.
Gary Newcomb (husband of the president Margot Newcomb) giving instructions to Betsy Kibler & Mac Zimmerman (I love that a woman runs the shop!)
Assembling all the parts and disassembling the parts and packing them for shipment. This included putting together the boxes that were the exact right size to hold everything. This is the station I worked with my friend, Katrina Little. We wielded a giant stapler and a pincher, both of which took considerable upper body strength. My Pilates muscles got a work out. Milk cartons are recycled to make packing material.
I was amazed by how many details were involved in each and every step of the process.
The regular volunteers Tom Mosley, a 93-year-old expert in steel and Ken Graalum came in especially to work with us on Saturday. Wonderfully knowledgeable, super nice, and very patient when they had to repeat the instructions for the tenth time. 🙂
It costs $300 to make one of these transports, including shipping to another country.
Our church has sent money in 2014 and 15 but this year we wanted to get hands on as well.
Very worthwhile experience. Hard physical labor, super important work. We made a difference in the lives of 7 people and their families and friends, because at the end of the day, we had 7 P.E.T.s stacked on the pallet for shipping. This is the 6th one going up.
Boy did I sleep well Saturday night! Even my sore, achy muscles didn’t keep me awake.
If you’d like to learn more about this project and live in Texas check out http://petbrazosvalley.org
If you live elsewhere, check out the national site http://petinternational.org/
You’ll find a great video titled Where There’s a Wheel, There’s a Way.
I hope you’ll feel moved to get involved.
So have you ever gone on a mission trip before? Where to and for how long? What organization did you work with?
Love to hear from you.