Our friend, Rich Skolburg, traveled to India last spring to see if he could track down the stories behind the wheelchairs we distribute. On his journeys, he met a man named Isaac. He shares this with us, and with you:
Life has not been easy for Isaac. Born without the use of his legs, his father told him he could not go to school, not just because he was needed at home, but because the other children would make fun of him. As a young man, Isaac worked shaping stones for use in building walls at a local quarry, until machines replaced the workers and he lost his job. Now he must rely upon the charity of others for his survival.
Isaac has no wife, parents, or children, only a sister with whom he lives. I wondered what it would be like if he could read, if he had received a formal education, if somewhere in his past a different fork of the road had been taken. He is intelligent, easy to talk to, and with strong hands that once shaped stones, now used for begging. His story was one of desperation, isolation and worry. He said what he feared most was one day being alone.
Isaac’s new wheelchair could not have come at a better time. Before the chair, his only means of transportation was hopping or scooting around, using his arms to lift his bottom and legs from the ground as he moved. Now 55 years old, his age limited his movement.
I asked him the biggest thing the chair did to change his life, and his answer saddened me. He told me he uses the chair to leave the house so that he is not in anyone’s way.
This is a story that was difficult for me to write. No matter where you are in the world or who you meet regardless of religion, creed or socio economic background, everyone yearns for human contact, for someone to have a sincere conversation with and to tell their story to. I wanted to share this because Isaac, and millions like him, has a voice never heard. I am grateful to know Isaac and I hope to see him again. I hope his story can help to get your message out and help more people like him. It is why I made the trip.