2009 - Muintir Mhuire

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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".
Christian Community Experience for Young People
Copyright © Muintir Mhuire 2014.
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