The Olympics and PET:
*** The 2014 Olympics has me getting out my World Atlas and sorting out
memories of how PET is involved in that part of the world. The Republic of
Georgia is a short distance from Sochi, and is one of those small countries
that withdrew from the Soviet Union. Life has been very difficult for them
since. When the Russian solders withdrew they literally stripped the
country, including the hospitals. An excellent NGO called ACTS (A Call to
Serve), based here in Columbia, has been helping Georgia with rebuilding its
health care system. Our government has been very helpful, among other things
paying for shipping out containers. We have sent over container after
container of recycled hospital supplies and equipment–beds, xray machines,
wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, etc.
In 2000 I went to Georgia with Dr. Trish Blair, Director of ACTS. We flew
on a new C-17 plane and took $9.2 million worth of medicines. We were there
for a week and I fell in love with those wonderful folks. Georgia has a
great history as an educated country, a world leader for many years, with
ancient churches and health spas. But at this point in their history they
are extremely poor, and at the mercy of Russia in so many ways, their supply
of gas included.
Wheelchairs of any kind were practically unknown there, so a first step
was to come home and ship, in 2002, about 40 PETs to them. In due time they
sent back a wonderful report with a photo and story about each PET
distributed. On the first page the report said, “We have discovered a new
world for us – the world inhabited by people who had lost any hope as well
as those who did not surrender and who are desperately trying to fight their
The first story in the book is about Mamuka Chikobava, 38, who had polio.
He wrote this letter:
“Dear friends, I do not have words to thank you properly. I was a miser and
now I am a man. You have changed my life. I did not smile for years, and now
I am smiling. Thank you for my new life.”
Go to this link to see his picture on his new PET next to his old
transportation device on the 2002 Stories page of our website – 2nd story.
***Other countries near Sochi receiving PETs include Armenia, 2009;
Kazakhstan, 2008; Ukraine, 2004; and Uzbekistan, 2006. (Year represents
first year PETs were sent and added to the countries list. See attached
full list. Kathy)
*** If you would like the report of the shipment to Georgia send $10 and
your postal address and we will mail it to you, postpaid.
“One machine can do the work of 50 ordinary people. No machine can do the
work of one extraordinary person.” – Elbert Hubbard