Wheelchairs for Nigeria

October 2015 Newsletter

Wheelchairs Presented in War-torn Northeast

On September 10, Ayuba presented 50 wheelchairs in Damaturu, Yobe State, a dangerous area where the Boko Haram terrorists have been active. Here is his account:

I have received tremendous support and encouragement from Rachael my wife in my Beautiful Gate work but I was surprised at the level of her opposition to my trip. This was particularly so, because as an indigene of that zone, I expected her to be supportive of pushing more wheelchairs to her part of the country, as is always the case in Nigeria. The fear of Boko Haram has become the beginning of wisdom so no one including security operatives fancies any trip to that part of the country.

The event turned out to be the most well attended by state functionaries in all the history of our wheelchair distributions. The State Governor, his Deputy, the Secretary to the State Government, the Speaker and all members of the House of Assembly, the Director of the State Security Service (SSS) Yobe, the heads of Customs, Immigration and Prisons as well as the head of the Federal Road Safety (FRSC) were all personally present. These were apart from hundreds of politicians, party officials and the disabled.

Making his remarks, the State Governor Alhaji Ibrahim Gaidam mni, fss said, "This is true love. We have lost out of many opportunities to benefit from similar organizations because of insecurity, but today, this young man braved the consequences to be here today to present these wheelchairs. This is true love".

The chairman of the Polio Survivors Network of Yobe State said, "Every segment of our society has suffered from insecurity: men, women and children, but the suffering of disabled people is the worst because without mobility, we cannot move anywhere, therefore our joy knows no bounds today. Only God will reward this sacrifice of love from the Beautiful Gate Jos"

The Emir of Damaturu said "It is unfortunate that at this critical period of insecurity and civil unrest, it has been a survival of the fittest as no one has spared any thought about helping the disabled in our midst. This gift of wheelchairs and crutches is the best I have received since the crisis began."

Red Cross Official Visits Wheelchair shop

Balz Halbheer, a volunteer with the Red Cross from Switzerland, was assigned to do an assessment of the need for emergency relief of the Church of the Brethren (EYN in Nigeria) who have a million followers, mostly in Borno State, where Boko Haram has killed over 10,000. Tens of thousands have fled the area, many to refugee camps in the Jos area. He said, "This is the first time I worked for a church organization. I saw a different approach than we have at Red Cross: human aspects have more weight than hard facts and figures. I must admit I felt very comfortable in the brotherhood of Christianity."

Here is his report of his visit to Beautiful Gate:

Visiting the workshop in Jos was an exciting experience, after all these e-mails we exchanged, I finally made it! Also the warm welcome of Professor Danny McCain and his wife and the lunch invitation was highly appreciated. Not to mention the Nigerian okra soup that was served.

The workshop was very much as I imagined it would be, but bigger: the people working there, the tools and machinery, the working processes and the product of course. It is the kind of perfect Project I had in mind; creating jobs, not taking anything away from someone else, not involved in any politics, independent, not complicated, no overhead costs, sustainable and improving the lives of forgotten ones. What a wonderful job you have done! Doing something good is such a difficult business.

Touched by the Plight of the Disabled

Children attending the Vacation Bible School at West Side Presbyterian Church in Seattle contributed $1669 for wheelchairs. Here is an email from one mother:

Hi Ron,
I heard about your organization from my daughter Hazel, who attended the VBS at West Side Presbyterian. She is 7 years old and was exceedingly touched by the plight of those kids. One night she told me that her heart was so heavy because "I can’t stand the thought of them having to drag themselves around, mamma. They have to walk with flip flops on their hands!" I could really see that the Holy Spirit had moved in her heart for them and she asked if she could empty out her savings to contribute to helping them. Her Dad and I told her that we wanted her to keep her savings envelope as it was, and that we wanted to contribute on her behalf.

Hazel, whose middle name is Mercy, has your flyer on the bulletin board by her bed in her room. She does chores for money and has decided that, other than church, this would be her organization that she wants to support.

Carol Watson Visits Nigeria

Carol Watson, CPA, spent 3 weeks in Nigeria in early summer continuing her work to upgrade Beautiful Gate accounting. These are her accounts and photos:

What would you do if your precious toddler wasn't "toddling"... And everyone in the neighborhood could clearly see that he would never walk, with his malformed legs... And then the community leaders came to you and pressured you to take him into the woods and leave him to die?

This isn't Hansel and Gretel, or science fiction. This is today, the 21st century, in rural Nigeria. A disabled child would be a terrible burden to a poor farming family. What could he do, other than beg? Wouldn't it be simplest to just set him by the river and leave?

To make the situation even more heart-breaking, their first boy was also born disabled in some way, and they were convinced to do that very thing with their firstborn.

Fortunately, Christians in the community met and prayed with the parents, encouraging them to keep this little boy. In June, the church arranged for a child-sized wheelchair to be presented to the family.

No one in the large congregation noticed the mother, a poorly dressed farmwoman with the little boy on her back -- until she set him down on the wheelchair at the front of the church. First he looked questioningly at his mother, then turned his radiant face to the crowd and beamed at us all. What a smile! There was an audible "ooohh" from the congregation.

Of course the wheelchair is too big for him right now, but he will grow. This wheelchair, provided because of your generous gifts, will help him run errands and go to school and be the "someone" in the world that his smile portends!

Children grow up!

Hauwau Shehufada came to a wheelchair presentation in Bauchi, a predominately Muslim city about an hour from our workshop in Jos. She has outgrown her small wheelchair and requested an adult-sized one.

Her family name ends with "-fada," meaning that her father works for the Emir, perhaps as a gardener or a guard, and she grew up in the Emir's beautiful palace. During the presentation, she attracted several admiring young men, one of whom claimed that he would marry her.

She gave them all a cool look, turned to me, and explained that she's doing well in school but her family doesn't have the money for the next year's school fees. She hopes to attend the university and become a doctor. (Ayuba made notes, to see if he could find a scholarship for her.)

I couldn't help but think how the wheelchair gives her not only mobility, but dignity. If she were crawling on the ground, could she even think of attending school? Would she have the same admirers? Or dreams of a profession? Thank you for helping Hauwau have dignity and hope with your gifts to the wheelchair fund.

Ron Rice will be leaving for Nigeria Oct. 20th, his 22nd trip. Ayuba has a number of wheelchair presentations scheduled, plus giving 80 folding white canes and 60 digital voice recorders to blind students.

Please help these polio survivors with a gift to Wheelchairs for Nigeria

Send your tax-deductible gift to Wheelchairs for Nigeria, 1542 Palm Ave SW. Seattle, WA 98116 or give online. Please consider an automatic monthly gift, as some of our supporters do, through bill pay at your bank or PayPal.

$150 transforms a life!

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