Encounters of the ortho kind

After several trips were planned and then canceled suddenly everything begins to happen at once. My ankle surgery on March 5 turns out to be only 11 days before my first assignment with the new Johns Hopkins project on which we are partner. I left a message with the orthopedic surgeon to find out whether I can even consider traveling. If he OKs it, I will be off to Zanzibar first and then a side trip to Ivory Coast.

I had my pre-op admissions testing today, some tests, and was considered fit for surgery. It got me home early which left me time to do an end-of-day yoga routine, and cook a thick and spicy peanut soup plus read half of Harvard Business Review.

I continue to have conversations with wheelchair experts all over the world. Putting together a training package is my assignment. Yesterday I had a conversation with Nancy who lives in a Somali refugee camp in northeastern Kenya. It is quite amazing that one can have a phone conversation, over Skype, with somebody in this faraway, and often forgotten, corner of the world. Nancy has been training wheelchair providers for many years now and gave me some good ideas on what new trainers have to be able to know and do.

It is very inspiring to see how the wheelchair provider community that stretches from the US to South Africa to Australia, to Japan, Hong Kong and Georgia, has come together to set standards and expand the number of trained service providers. The demand is huge and the work is demanding. Many people I am meeting are volunteers or work with small budgets.

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