St Lukes Project Menu
2009. Wheelchair Bus and Contents Donated to the Friends of the Disabled in Bosnia
Finally a Transport Incubator to Mostar hospital.
Late the following year we got a call from Godfrey Carpenter saying he had located a Transport Incubator and its owners were willing to donate it. Frank collected it and it was at our house in Midleton while we tried to find a way of sending it to Mostar.
Shortly before Christmas we got a call to ask if there was anything we needed to get to Medjugorje. We regularly supplement from our stores container or truck loads of aid going to Medjugorje or other areas of need.
We hesitated because we knew how hard it is to get medical equipment through customs. We built a plywood crate and put the incubator inside, labelled it as “Baby carrier” and addressed it to the Kay Centre at the Mother’s Village. When it arrived they donated it to the Hospital in Mostar.
2009. He guides me along the right path
In the early days of the St Luke’s Medical Project we had difficulty getting suitable storage for the supplies we were bringing to Medjugorje. We were then offered the use of a three roomed building in the Mother’s Village with the request that we also provide there a first aid clinic with the services of a nurse.
While we were pursuing this option someone approached us saying there was a young doctor volunteering her services as she was unable to get work because she had Multiple Sclerosis. I met her to discuss this at Kathy’s Kitchen on a Saturday night. In discussion with her and others that night we came to the conclusion that if she was going to take on this work she needed a wheelchair. An electric wheelchair was really what was needed.
I came away asking myself if we were trying to take on too much. First we were simply bringing in some much needed medical supplies, then there was the proposal of a clinic and now we are thinking of having a doctor available with the added complication of a wheelchair. I pleaded with the Lord to help me know His will in all this. I was travelling home via Dubrovnik the following morning.
Paddy Travel offered me a lift on one of their buses taking pilgrims to Dubrovnik on the first leg of their journey home to Dublin. I was chatting to some of them whom I had met previously when the bus stopped for a break at Neum. I eventually joined the end of the queue going into the cafe. The guy in front of me said “I see you often in Medjugorje.” I responded “I have seen you there as well. “He said, “ I bring out electric wheelchairs.” I said “That is great, I need one” and went onto tell him about the meeting the night before. He asked when I was returning to Medjugorje and I told him that I would be back in three weeks. He said that he would have an electric wheelchair suitable for the doctor at the airport for me. Three weeks later we delivered a very fine electric wheelchair to the doctor.
The clinic provided a much needed service for some time in the Mother’s Village and through that meeting with Godfrey Carpenter (the man who said to me in Neum “I bring out electric wheelchairs“) we have acquired a wheelchair bus and more electric wheelchairs and scooters and other much needed equipment for Susret (Friends of the Disabled) the newly formed wheelchair association in the Citluk area and delivered them to them. This was only the beginning. Already there is more hope for the seventy-five people in that area who either need or are using wheelchairs. Many of them are under eighteen and benefit greatly now that they have a bus which means they can attend school.
We are learning that the Good Shepherd not only leads us along the right Path but arranges that we meet the right people along the way. Our little yes or maybe in response to the invitation in our hearts from the Holy Spirit to do some good provides God with the opportunity to show us that He wants to do much more than we realise and that nothing will happen without our yes. May God continue to show His great love for all the disabled and those who care for them and may the Mother of Jesus and our Mother too continue to intercede for us.
2009. Muintir Mhuire friends of the disabled
After that initial meeting with Fr. Donal in Neum Godfrey Carpenter invited Fr. Donal and Keith to Dublin to explore the possibility of getting more aid. During a visit to the Irish Wheelchair Association we were offered a wheelchair bus that they had recently replaced after ten years of service. It had just over 30,000 miles done and was still in good condition.
On our return to Medjugorje we spoke with Dragan Kozinaabout this bus and he agreed that it would be of great use if they could import it. He told us that there was a new group “Friends of the Disabled” who were currently trying to raise funds for a bus. We met with Jasminka the mother of a disabled child. She was the president of this group. She had recently returned from abroad and was appalled at the lack of services for disabled people. In the Citluk region alone there were 70 disabled people 30 of whom could go to school if they had the facilities. Most were without even wheelchairs.
Later in the month the bus was released from the I.W.A. and Godfrey and Jackie drove it to Cork. Buckley Brothers Spray Painters painted it but we needed someone with a C license to drive it out. Seamus Wilkinson volunteered and his brother in law, Joe, offered to help. Soon we had been given a variety of disability equipment which included 2 Hoists for lifting the Disabled, 2 Electric Scooters, 2 Electric Wheelchairs for the Disabled, 4 Push wheelchairs, walking aids and approximately 20 boxes of wheelchair occupant’s accessories and also baby clothes which all went on the bus.
On a Thursday afternoon (the same time that Sr. Grace was taking her first vows in Italy) Seamus and Joe left for Rosslaire. They travelled through Ireland, England, Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and finally into Bosnia after 5 days and having two setbacks at the customs in Croatia and Bosnia. After a total journey 3500km they finally arrived at Europa late Monday evening. Some of the disabled children asked their parents to go to Europa where they might see the bus. One young man visited Europa and asked to see the bus but it had gone to be reregistered.
In the last 7 years we have through generous supporters and the outstanding work of Frank Terry, Godfrey and Jackie Carpenter, Keith Sheehan and others been able to supply approximately 80 electric wheelchairs, about 12 per year sometimes meeting the person who needs the chair and assessing the right type of chair for them, hundreds of wheelchairs and walking aids, a wheelchair bus, numerous electric and manual hoists, electric scooters, and much more i.e. nappies, sudocreme etc. These have been distributed to a broad catchment area. More importantly we are trying to link Susret (Friends of the Disabled) to charitable organizations in Ireland which would enable them to receive much more material and educational support from Ireland
2009. President of Susret
Jasminka president of Susret
On receipt of the wheelchair-bus Jasminka said:
“Thanks for the gift of the Irish vehicle. It means a lot especially for parents and their children. For almost ten years we ourselves had to drive our children to Mostar School lifting them in and out of our cars. We can now do this in a safe and satisfactory manner. We do not have to carry them as they can now go in a wheelchair in the bus you have provided for us. Parents who could not bring their kids to school because of financial or time issues can now send their children to school. Irish people are really very generous people.
This is a very well preserved mini-bus and is in very good condition with a dozen Mercedes seats, and is equipped with a special automated platform and other equipment adapted for transporting children with special needs. Thank you to the Irish humanitarian organization Muintir Mhuire".
When Seamus was asked about the journey he said:
" It was all worth it to arrive in Bosnia and see the happy faces of the parents who received the bus, the fact that the children could now go to school and also people received wheelchairs that they needed ...
I would do it all again".