25 July 2011

My New Wheels

That's right!  I now have a vehicle!!  And have to brag . . . it gets GREAT gas milage!  At first I thought about going with a LandRover, since I do live in Africa . . . and was even considering a hybrid for a while, since Niger's only green during rainy season . . . but in the end decided that the best way to help develop Galmi's new Therapy Department was to go with something a little more . . . what's the word I'm looking for . . . MANUAL.

My new trike-style wheelchair arrived yesterday and I took it out for test-drive this afternoon!!  My knees get in the way . . . my arms are barely strong enough to push up even the slightest slope . . . and it was only a hoard of guardian angels that kept me from crashing six or seven times.  At one point our visiting SIM Deputy International Director of Africa and Europe had to push me out of a dirt pile, and I already have blisters on my palms.  But I figure with a little more practice and some rewelding of the crooked front shaft, I'll be picking up the speed in no time!

One of the challenges for my patients who would benefit from wheeled mobility is the terrain.  In Niger, a lot of the resource-poor-area style chairs just don't hold up.  We need solid and sturdy, yet still pushable.  Another challenge is the price.

So I'm going to have to get creative when it comes to keeping the cost down while maintaining the integrity of the structure . . . I just may end up moonlighting as a welder.  What can I say, I dream big.



I just may have buff biceps yet!
Then again, maybe not.

But regardless, I think I look pretty cute 'peddling' along.

Alheri the Great takes her for a spin.

Everyone wanted a turn!

I need to place an order for a customized plate: C DEB GO

First day on the road, and already she needs
a tune up!  OY!

17 comments:

Melonscherry said...

oh MY Word!! It is a wheelchair/bike/hover round!!=a wheelbihover :) Love the bandaid tape too :)

Elizabeth said...

SO FANTASTIC!!!  I would totally need to work on my upper body strength!  So are you using this as a prototype for future projects for your patients?

Mamastouff said...

I'm speechless!! You are very creative and determined to help others...Go Deb Go!!

Shal said...

Love it!!! You will definitely have the best biceps around!

Amanda Hunt said...

That is one of the most awesome looking bikes I've seen!!! Love it!

Bobnrobn said...

When I come to visit, will I be picked up at the airport in the 'wheelbihover?'  

Elisabeth Barnett said...

hello Debbie?
The British OT living in France. I saw these trikes in Danja, and felt the design needed a change. Did descovere a web site with a different style for carrying ice creams on the back. I remmeber as a child people in the UK had hand pedaling trikes, but the design was from scratch and not from using the fame of a bike and adjusting it.
best wishes
Elisabeth

Deb. said...

HA HA HA!!!! A WHEELBIHOVER!!! I love it!! :)

Deb. said...

Hoping to. It's definitely FUTURE . . . and turns out this is the 'youth' size, not the 'adult' size. Bummer.

Deb. said...

All in a day's work! But really, other than LanceArmstrong, who gets to play with 'bikes' for a living?!?!? I LOVE MY JOB!

Deb. said...

Shhhh . . . don't tell my hospital director, but that was really what I was going for when I asked if we could make this purchase!! :)

Deb. said...

I know, great, right!?!?! They are all over the capital city . . . hoping we can get a few more out this way.

Deb. said...

Only if you promise to pack light! :) (does that mean you don't want me to come get you on my camel??)

Deb. said...

Hi Elisabeth!! Any idea when you'll be heading to Danja again? Please feel free to stop by in Galmi!

Elisabeth Barnett said...

We hope to visit Bunmi sometime, have no plans will let you know when we paln to come. I am tryng very hard to find the project number for the prosthetics project as will give some support but need to do it thought French SIM as we are taxed in France. But am not getting on very far.
You mentioned bubbles sometime ago. In the 50ties in the Uk when se coudln't get bubbles we made our own with washing up liquid, I can't remember how well it worked. Better for you to try diluting the type you can buy in galmi, rather than I experiment with the one I buy as it maynot be the same.

Deb. said...

As far as the prosthetics goes, we are still in the process of writing the project, so no number yet. But I can let you know once it goes through. Thanks!

Kari said...

So my husband-who-loves-his-road-bike says that if you make the gear on the front tire bigger (not the one on the handlebars/pedals, the one down on the wheel), it will be easier to pedal. :)  I looked at the picture and thought "Awesome!" - and when I told him it was hard for you to pedal "So how on earth are her patients going to pedal it?!"  he looked at the picture and that's what he came up with. :) (Ah - so that's what we can do when we - hypothetically - come to Galmi - make/build tricycle wheelchairs:)