Alfonso (28) and his father, Sergio (48), climbed into a small sailboat on the coast of Nicaragua one day, like they did every day, setting out into the waters of the Atlantic.
They are members of the Miskito indigenous community, a significant percentage of whom make a living as lobster divers.
It’s dangerous work, requiring deep free dives to search for the nocturnal shellfish hiding in crevices on the ocean floor.
“When you dive into the waters, you are aware that it could be the last time,” Sergio later told us, “but you have to do it because it is the only way to support yourself.”
On this fateful day, Sergio and Alfonso ventured further out than usual, into even deeper waters, to find their “daily lobster.”
They surfaced too quickly on their last dive and suffered decompression sickness, also known as “the bends,” caused by a rapid decrease in water pressure, resulting in injuries and severe joint and bone pain.
Alfonso and his father were rushed to a hospital, but it was too late. The damage to their bodies was done, and they gradually lost mobility. “I never expected this to happen to me,” confessed Alfonso, “but it was my turn and I have nothing left but to wait on God. I know He will take care of me and my family.”
When our local distribution partner, Metanoia Missions, fitted Alfonso and his father with new GEN_2 wheelchairs, Alfonso said, “I feel very grateful… This wheelchair is going to change my life. Now, I will be able to look for another way to support my family. I think God has given me other legs.”
Sergio added, “It is my dream that others who lost mobility like me can have a wheelchair like the ones we received today.”
Worldwide, an estimated 75 million individuals live with disabilities and cannot afford a wheelchair. But you can make a difference!
For $80—perhaps the cost of a lobster dinner for two—you can provide not just one, but TWO wheelchairs during this month’s x2 Gift Challenge.
Our goal this October is to raise 16,000 wheelchairs for individuals living with disabilities in developing countries.