Earlier this spring, four PBO Group employees travelled to Belize to spend a week supporting residents of that country living with limb loss through a partnership with Prosthetic Hope International.
While the team was kept incredibly busy making and dispensing 17 limbs, 2 AFO braces and providing device adjustments and repairs to an additional 25 people, the employees on this life-changing trip would all agree that they received far more from their time in Belize than they gave.
Scarce materials and very basic clinic conditions reminded our team that there’s nothing they can’t do when they lean into their creativity and resourcefulness. From frantically searching local hardware stores and conducting experiments with what was available to address a last-minute resin shortage, to using a cafeteria kitchen counter as an examination table to allow a bilateral patient to lie down during the casting process, many unexpected challenges arose over the week that the PBO crew worked together to overcome.
Working closely with many clients who had been forced to use a wheelchair or crutches because prosthetic support had not been available was also incredibly moving for our PBO team. According to PBO Niagara’s Devin Sims, “During the last few years, Covid prevented any volunteer teams from going down to Belize to support this clinic. As a result, many clients have been waiting for an appointment for quite some time. The clients we saw were filled with such joy to be fit and were so determined to put in the work to make sure they can use the prosthesis they received properly. I can’t wait to head back there and see them for follow-up in the future.”
PBO Niagara’s Gary Kenyeres added, “This mission was an exhausting, emotional roller coaster and even with all the hiccups during the week, it was so worth it to see all the happiness in the clinic, from the patients and all their family members that joined them for the final fittings.”
The PBO Group team was particularly moved by the words of one client’s brother, who said, “Don’t you ever look at it and just think you are just bringing prosthesis to Belize. You are bringing hope, and we appreciate it.”
PBO Group is just one of many organizations supporting the important work that Prosthetic Hope International is doing to expand prosthetic and orthotic rehabilitation services around the globe. If you’d like to learn more about volunteer opportunities with Prosthetic Hope International, donating a gently used prosthetic device or making a financial contribution to the organization, visit their website at https://www.prosthetichope.org/.