Monday, September 10, 2012

Meet Catarina

Meet Catarina

One summer evening in 2012, twenty-five year old Catarina Ramirez was getting ready for bed. She was living in Escuintla, Guatemala and had difficulty getting around the house. It had been 10 years since the motorcycle accident that cost her leg – an accident she had learned to push from her mind. She had received a prosthetic leg in 2011, but the fitting was too small and couldn’t be worn. She eventually made it to her room and crawled into bed. She was exhausted from helping her mother care for her seven siblings; her father had passed away a few years earlier. As she drifted off, she had a dream she would never forget.

In the dream, someone came to Catarina and said “Here – this is for you. Put it on!” They handed her a new prosthetic leg. She put it on with excitement. It fit perfectly, and was so lightweight she wanted to stand up and run. So she did. She ran and ran, not wanting to ever sit down again. She cried with gratitude at the chance to start over with a new leg. Then Catarina woke up.
Despite the initial heartbreak she felt when she woke, Catarina got up and began to help her family. About 2 hours later she received a phone call that would change her life. She was told about the UVU International Service Abroad Club coming to Guatemala, and was told that they had a new prosthetic leg for her – free of charge. They asked her to come to the capital as soon as possible. She cried with gratitude, said a prayer, and found a ride.

When she arrived, she told the ISA members about her dream and her family. She told them about her ambition to work in a restaurant and continue her education. When 2 ft Prosthetics fit a new prosthetic, she was amazed to learn that they could also re-fit her old prosthetic. Catarina’s dream had come true. Before leaving, Catarina said “God is my strength; anything is possible with God’s help. Thank you so much for your help, and may God bless you!”

Thursday, June 9, 2011

In Guatemala

From Left to Right: Doug Wright, Julio Fuentes, Lucky Fuentes, Blanca Tajosh, Silvia Lobendahn, and Leone Lobendahn
From Left to Right: Christie Kitto, John Calveri, Betty, Julie Bagley, Lindsey Black, Leone Lobendahn, Levi Calveri, Brooks Shotgunn, Eddy Fuentes, Sadie Blasucci, Tiffany Shotgunn, Christine Diamond, Jamie Groesbeck, and Silvia Lobendahn
Leone Lobendahn and Blanca Tajosh

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Wow! This has been such a great experience. We are a group of 13 and we came together to do great things in Guatemala. The group from both UVU and one recent BYU graduate, Doug Wright from 2FtProsthetics have taken 14 amputees and have built 15 prosthetic legs all within less than a week's time. The Guatemalan people are all so kind and feel as if we have made such a difference in their lives.

But we as a group also feel as if all of the amputees we saw this past week have changed us forever. We heard many stories from our 14 amputees. Some were affected from birth, others from cancer, others from illnesses, and yet many others had been amputated due to an accident.

One of the stories that touched us deeply was the story of 25 year old Blanca, who is a single mom of seven year old Jonathan. She was born with a lower back deformity which was operated on when she was three months old. This operation left her with the ability to walk, but only eight years later, she found out that one of her feet had developed an ulcer.

One month before Blanca turned 15, she was told that she would lose her foot due to an infection in her bone that developed years ago from the ulcer. John Calveri, a Digital Media student at UVU, who is documenting the trip for his senior project has captured Blanca and her story on video during this trip.

Our small team has been blessed with a chance to get to know so many wonderful people, and children who will always remain in our hearts and whom we hope to continue a friendship for years to come. La gente chapina (the chapina people) are great people for their strength, and their wonderful spirit.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Two student teams heading to...

Guatemala The Guatemala team is heading to Central America next Wednesday, June 1, 2011 and it is comprised of 11 students and two Utah Valley University Staff members.  We hope to share our culture, give Utah valley ISA students the chance to experience service abroad.  All of our students are current volunteers within the community.  The ISA Club gives all of it's members a chance to bring the local community together in the effort of also providing service worldwide.  Pictures and a documentary video of this trip will follow soon.

The Tonga team has a total of 8 students going for a month to this beautiful tropical island.  The students will be setting up a prosthetics clinic there and hope to fit several people in need of the innovative 2FtProsthetics limb.  Pictures of this service will follow soon...