As I spent some time going through the stories coming back to us from one of our recent trips to Ecuador, the smile of a certain man caught my eye. His name is Juan Diego and his story comes to us care of Janice Munemitsu while the photo was taken by FWM executive board member and CFO, Denny Kromer, both of whom served on this team. Janice writes:
Juan Diego is about 70 years old and lives in the mountainous area of Amazones, about 15 minutes away from Cotacachi, Ecuador. He was found abandoned on the streets by a compassionate missionary of the Catholic Church, Teresa Rivera. Without family and suffering from memory loss, Teresa gave him the name ‘Juan Diego.’
He suffers from a leg injury, a very twisted knee joint. But his need for a wheelchair to move around the group home where he lives is now a reality. Teresa cares for 40 people – elderly and orphaned children – and wheelchairs are a great help for the caregivers, as well as a blessing of mobility for the elderly like Juan Diego. Juan’s smile as he went home in his new wheelchair was as big and bright as could be! It was a good day, a very good day, for Juan Diego!
There is no way any individual could make Juan Diego’s story a reality. It takes a special person to care for 40 people as Teresa Rivera does. It takes a special group like Fundación Vista Para Todos to see the need for a wheelchair and make sure it gets addressed. And it takes a special person like you to make all of these other parts work. On behalf of all of our partners, our staff, and especially our recipients: thank you for your support.
This week we were honored with a visit from a very special guest–and a very dear friend of Free Wheelchair Mission’s.
Diego Nieto is the executive director of our distribution partner in Ecuador, Fundación Vista Para Todos. Located in Quito, la Fundación has served over 7,000,000 people throughout Ecuador providing all manner of medical care to the people who need it most. He is completely in love with FWM and has been since he found out about us in 2005.
To date the Fundación has received six containers since it became our distribution partner in 2006. Diego has said that he will be our partner for as long as we want to partner with him because he believes that Ecuador badly needs these wheelchairs–and we love having him on our team.
Diego flew all the way here to visit with us, talk about how he sees our wheelchairs working in the field and to present Don with a plaque that symbolizes our ongoing partnership with Fundación to serve impoverished disabled people in Ecuador–and around the world. Thank you so much, Diego, and the Fundación for your continued support of Free Wheelchair Mission: we can’t do anything without partners like you.