The Awamaki disabilities program has five individuals both in Ollantaytambo and the outlying communities that we visit on a twice weekly basis. Alex is a twelve year old boy who was born with cerebral palsy who lives in the township of Phiri. Alex is generally bedridden and suffers a permanently dislocated left hip as a result of falling out of bed while being left unattended; the injury was undetected by his mother for some time and as a result the injury has now been determined to be inoperable. Secondary complications are contractions in his left arm and general wastage of his musculature due to inactivity. Alex is unable to converse but is able to convey his feelings with laughs and squeals; he particularly loves it when the Machu Picchu train goes by or more adventurous volunteers ride his family pigs! A usual visit with Alex involves checking whether or not his diaper is clean and dry and then carrying him outside into the sun and sitting with him outside doing passive exercises designed to encourage Alex to mobilize his left arm.We usually spend 30 to 45 minutes with Alex until he begins to tire or the weather is uncooperative. Our long term goal is to get Alex into a local school for children with disabilities as a means to socialize him and integrate him into the local community and as a means to provide some respite for his mother who has two other children and holds down a job selling corn in the Machu Picchu area.
Jose is a nineteen year old boy also born with cerebral palsy. He lives in Ollantaytambo and is cared for by his mother who sells Chicha at the local market. His days consist of being confined to his wheelchair in the family home listening to the radio. Jose is a lively character who absolutely loves his visits with our volunteers Jose is also non- verbal but laughs a lot when engaged. His primary complication currently is the contractions in both his feet and hamstrings. Physiotherapy,done by current volunteers over the last three months has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the mobility and flexion of Jose´s ankles feet and hamstrings, to the point where Jose has made numerous attempts to rise from a kneeling position to a standing position with only moderate support given by volunteers. He quite obviously has the strength to stand and our goal right now is to secure suitable braces for his legs to further improve the bio mechanics of his feet and ankles. A typical visit with Jose includes wheeling him outside via a ramp that we built for him into his courtyard and helping him onto a mattress.Here we take Jose through a series of stretches designed to improve the alignment from his knees to his toes. Also we work on the flexibility in his hamstrings and ankles in an effort to counter the effect of his contractions.
The Awamaki disabilities program has certainly proved to be one of the most popular aspects of our volunteers stays here in Ollantaytambo and the growing interest has made it possible to reach more and more individuals in need of help both locally and in the more remote communities.
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