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Joachin’s New Ride Brings Dignity

After a whole school year of anticipation, Joachin has received his Roughrider Off-Road Wheelchair, which was delivered to him personally by Encompass Partner Ginger Hock.

Joachin has faced more challenges than most 12-year-olds. His mother was killed, his father abandoned him, and he has been paralyzed from the waist down since birth. By the grace of God, he endured and found hope. Through the Hand in Hand Orphan Schools in the CAR, Joachin experienced community and became a passionate Christian.

Though his life had been completely transformed, he still faced the hardship of his handicap.

In order to help Joachin’s mobility, all the students in the Hand in Hand Orphan Schools raised money throughout the school year to purchase a wheelchair for him. Working together, the children raised nearly $300, the equivalent of a year’s salary in the CAR! This past month, Joachin received the bounty of his friends’ generosity; though it was not without obstacles.

The first one ordered from California was damaged in delivery before it even got on the plane to the CAR. They had to wait until it was replaced with a brand new one. Then in Paris, the new wheelchair was misplaced at the airport, which added some unnecessary stress. But, none of these blunders compare to what happen next.

Joachin and his teacher Miriam traveled by bus to meet Ginger in Bangui with the Rough Rider Wheelchair. On the way, the bus got into an accident and rolled over three times. Everyone, except for two passengers, was thrown from the bus. Those two were Joachin and Miriam. Some people were seriously injured and others did not make it, but our friends only had a few scratches and bruises.

Nothing was going to get in the way of Joachin receiving his wheelchair.

When Ginger met up with them in Bangui, she presented the wheelchair to Joachin. It was a moment of joy in its purest form. His demeanor completely changed. When he took a seat in his new ride, he sat up tall and laughed. There was a visible presence of pride in his boyish smile. No longer would he hobble around on the ground at home.

Ginger turned to see Miriam sobbing quietly in the background. She was overcome with emotion because of her deep love for this boy. She turned to me and said, “In the village, they call him an animal because he crawls on his hands and knees. Now he will have dignity.”