Day 4 -- Pamplona to Cucuta

Trip Start Jan 15, 2013
Trip End Feb 07, 2013

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Flag of Colombia  , Norte de Santander,
Sunday, January 27, 2013

The morning of Day 4 began with two smaller contingents making home deliveries early in the morning.  As a group we have learned that when all 15 arrive in a home, it can be an overwhelming home visit!  We then set out on a bus (circa 1952--recently equipped with power steering) to visit a school designed for 57 special needs students.  This building was constructed two years before after the original was wiped out by floods.  Most students are from very vulnerable families.  There is a partnership with a local university that provides additional hands to work with students.  The two home deliveries took us to some of the highest vantage points in the city.  What an incredible bus driver who navigated narrow winding roads with high definition precision.  We ascended steep stairs to reach the first home.  This man had only one leg but skillfully navigated the room and sat himself quickly in his new possession.  His wife beamed as she thanked us in her shy and humble manner.  Another bus ride, another winding set of roads...this time took us to an elderly woman who burst into tears of happiness as Maggie hugged her.  Maggie Zihlmann became our in house technician who always checked each person in their wheelchair to ensure proper set up adjusted to their individual needs.  We recognized that the support of families would still have to provide as these homes were often located in such steep terrain.  Our afternoon concluded with another stirring public presentation of four wheelchairs in the inner courtyard of our hotel.  There were again some very thoughtfully crafted speeches.  We all came to recognize that President Kelly is a natural born speaker who is able to infuse her words with humor, heart, and such genuine sentiment.   Rotarians, dignitaries, and the Daybreak family were often deeply touched.  In our group that received wheelchairs there was one young woman in her 20's who was accompanied by her brother.  After she was safely in her wheelchair he headed to the ramp where after some trial runs he mastered the art of navigating her safely.  He was so proud-- and so were we.  Her excitement was palpable....the kind that gives everyone present a great feeling.  Once again as we headed down the road, this time returning to Cucuta, we discovered we had come as strangers and were now leaving Pamplona as friends and members of the Rotary family.
Craig Gillis - Daybreak Rotary Campbell River BC
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