Arriving in Peru

Posted: 25th September 2014 by dan in Uncategorized

Wheelchair Athletes Worldwide, with Dan Altan, Jacob Tyree and Max Amenero began their Peru Project adventures yesterday (September 23, 2014) departing for Lima, Peru. All three were able to arrive safely into Lima, with Jacob arriving a few hours ahead of Max and Dan, waiting for them to clean customs/immigration together. Although there was much concern and worry about customs agents demanding a hefty per/chair fee, the group somehow managed to circumvent the intrusive attention of customs agents and clear all 11 sport wheelchairs without any issues whatsoever. The three then met up with Nancy Velez, the President of the partnering non-profit in Peru, Corazones Valientes Del Norte, to await an early morning flight to Chiclayo.

The group, now exhausted by being awake nearly 24 hours since their trip began, then had to figure out how to get seventeen wheelchairs (including one power chair) and luggage from Lima to Chiclayo. After a few uncertain hours of ´speaking´with airline staff, translating English to Spanish and back again, they got approval to take all chairs and baggage with them on their flight. We greatly appreciate the generosity of LAN Airlines and especially their very supervisors/managers, especially at four a.m.

The crew finally made it to their final destination of Chiclayo where they were greeted with several of Nancy and Max´s friends and family. The wheelchairs and baggage were packed up in several different vehicles for a trip to the gym where the clinic was to be held. The ´stadium´ had many excited Corazones Valientes members, eagerly awaiting to get a look at their ´new´ wheelchairs.

After some group and individual pictures with the chairs and WAW representatives, the group dropped off their luggage at the wonderful hotel Casa Andina and  headed out for some much needed local Chiclayo food. The first stop for lunch was at a small diner located on a street corner where they serve a dish consisting of a mashed-potato like ball slathered in a homemade yellow egg cream sauce. After downing this delicious carb rich platter the group went to another street corner where a local woman serves ceviche to a constant throng of hungry customers. They then met Nancy for a larger, more formal lunch in a small town outside of the city. Nancy seemed determined to fatten up the group prior to the energy demands needed for the next two grueling days of the Project. Some of tht stored energy was needed to sit patiently in the car while Mariella (a close friend of Max, and the driver for the day) went to look for someone to give a jump start to the car…….somehow the lights were left on during lunch, draining the battery, so the car battery would not start. However, the car battery had other plans. Luckily one of the taxi moto carts (a three-wheeled modified motorcycle cab) came to the rescue, with the promise of monetary compensation being the motivator.

Just when everyone was back at the hotel and settled in, thinking that after 37 hours of being awake they could finally get some shut-eye and much needed rest, an opportunity arose that was very hard to refuse…..a chance to sweat, expend energy and aggressively push up and down a basketball court, playing ball with the local team. Dan, Max, and Jacob packed up the car again and headed to the gym where a few of the local players were holding a practice. Dan and Jacob were able to pitch in coaching advice, intensity, and make the practice a little more exciting for everyone.

Even before totally settling in and resting up, the Wheelchair Athletes Worldwide ¨Project Peru¨ group enjoyed all sorts of experiences, and it´s not even the end of day 1!