*This was written Tuesday but I wasn’t able to post until today because our internet has been out*
It seems like just yesterday that I wrote my last blog post but I guess it’s already been a week, so here’s another update.
Last week Wednesday was the world premiere of “In Extremity,” a documentary that ROMP made in partnership with the US State Department to commemorate the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The movie documents last year’s Climbing for ROMP expedition, in which eight non-amputees and eight amputee climbers climb a series of mountains culminating with Cayambe, Ecuador’s third highest, glacier topped peak. The premiere was held at Ocho y Medio, a coffee bar and indie film theater which was filled to the brim on opening night. Hundreds of friends of ROMP, Quito community leaders, and US State Department officials came to watch. I helped serve wine to the movie goers, since Dave and the US Ambassador to Ecuador made a toast to celebrate the premiere. It was really cool getting to meet the Ambassador and other friends of ROMP.
As for the movie itself, what an incredible story! The documentary began by showing the quirks and struggles the team had to work out as they progressed through their acclimation climbs. Finally, the team made it to Cayambe, but didn’t reach the summit due to poor conditions. Despite this, the entire movie was clearly focused on celebrating the power that comes to people when they have access to the right technology. Watching the documentary made me realize how much I take my own mobility for granted. It also helped me understand the reason for ROMP – that amputees are not disabled by a missing limb, but rather by a missing prosthesis. As I watched people in the theater tearing up at the end of the film, I saw once again the human need for mobility.
Thursday and Friday, Collin and I were back in the clinic. Thursday, we helped fit knee-ankle-foot orthoses on a man who was paralyzed from the waist down. These should help him be able to stand, which can hopefully improve his circulation and morale. Friday, we assisted with the fitting of a 3D printed socket for a development project that Diana is working on with some university students who are building a myoelectric hand for one of their professors. The socket didn’t end up fitting perfectly, but we learned some valuable lessons about how to improve the modification process.
We spent this past weekend in Baños, a city a few hours from Quito that has every adventure opportunity you could possibly imagine. Collin and I enjoyed mountain biking along La Ruta de las Cascadas, a road that brought us past countless, massive waterfalls. The last one was the Devils Cauldron, which was one of the most powerful forces of nature I’ve ever seen. Sunday, we went canyoning, an adventure sport where you repel down waterfalls in the jungle. This was a blast but we’re all pretty bruised from the last waterfall which we attempted to slide down. The guide steered us wrong on how to approach that one!
This week, Collin and I will be spending all our time in the DevLab, since Dave, the prosthetist at Proteús is at ROMP’s Guatemala location helping GoPro film ROMP activities there for a GoPro documentary. Lots of exciting projects should be complete by the end of the week, so I’ll have lots to share in my next post!