Coco Capsule

October 19, 2011

For several decades, North American service clubs such as Rotary and Kiwanis have partnered with international counterparts in providing medical equipment to those in need in developing nations. While greatly appreciated and for the most part highly successful, some of these programs fail to accept the realities of the nations being served and the conditions in which recipients live. Take, for example, wheelchairs. According to Playas del Coco homeowner and internationally known foot surgeon Dr. Steve Miller, approximately 100 wheelchairs are being donated in Costa Rica this year, with many being designated for Guanacaste. 

While wheelchairs may provide tremendous opportunities for those living in San José, the benefits to those in rural areas are considerably less because of rutted and muddy roads, heavy seasonal rains and lack of equipment on public transportation to allow much travel beyond the user’s home or yard. Just last week, while driving back from central Coco, I witnessed a young girl of about 12 trying to set a fallen chair upright alongside the road during a heavy rain, all the while trying to lift a much older and larger woman. It took both of us to get the job done, and by that time all of us were soaked and muddy.

To be sure, some are adapting the donated chairs to counter the weather, but these efforts do not solve the condition of the surfaces over which the users must travel.

The fixes to these realities are fairly obvious, but are they simple? What will the solutions require and where is the motivation to make them? We’ll explore these topics in upcoming editions.

–Kent Carthey

kcarthey@aol.com

You may be interested

Honduran opposition protesters take to the streets
Central America
362 views
Central America
362 views

Honduran opposition protesters take to the streets

Noe Leiva / AFP - December 15, 2017

Supporters of the leftist opposition in Honduras blocked streets in various cities around that country on Friday, despite political repression,…

Of snow, kindness and Northern Lights: a Costa Rican in Manitoba, Canada
Please Send Coffee!
1461 views
Please Send Coffee!
1461 views

Of snow, kindness and Northern Lights: a Costa Rican in Manitoba, Canada

Gustavo Díaz Cruz - December 14, 2017

My mom named me Gustavo Adolfo. I was born in Puntarenas, next to the sea, but my home was in…

Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto Rico
Weather
1289 views
Weather
1289 views

Response to disaster: aid successes, struggles in post-Maria Puerto Rico

John McPhaul - December 13, 2017

As Costa Rica joins many other nations in looking back upon the horrendous 2017 hurricane season, longtime Tico Times contributor…