A Life Well Lived

Over 500 people were filled with anticipation as they gathered in the outdoor basketball stadium at American University of Managua on that hot summer day.  Oddly, it wasn’t for a sporting event. 

It was July 2019, and my wife Audrey and I were volunteering at a wheelchair distribution event run by Chair the Love and the local Rotary Club of Managua. That’s where I met Alberto Quiroz, a man who, despite his century of life etched on his face, held himself with the proud stature of an oak.  I would later learn that he was to be one of the recipients.

Along with the other volunteers from the USA, we would take turns providing recipients their wheelchair.  We would help them into their wheelchair as needed and then roll them to an area where we might talk for a few minutes.  Audrey and I were up next and Alberto’s name was called and we brought the wheelchair to  him, and we transferred him from the folding chair he was sitting in to a brand new wheelchair.  It was then we met his great granddaughter.

Her smile was contagious, like a ray of sunshine and you could see how much she loved her great grandfather.   She spoke excellent English, became our translator. She thanked us profusely on behalf of Alberto and their entire family.  She told me, he was born on June 6th, 1919 – a whole year before women even had the right to vote in America!  He’d spent his entire life, in the rural farming community of Escalante, Rivas. Pigs, cows, chickens, you name it – Alberto, from boyhood to just a few years ago, raised them all, he even made his own cheese!  He lived a on the small farm where he also raised his own family.

But the twinkle in his eyes truly shone when she mentioned riding his horse. He was an avid rider, she said, until a broken leg in 2016, at the incredible age of 97, forced him to finally hang up his reins. That’s why the chair from Chair the Love was such a gift. It meant Alberto could reclaim his independence, explore his land again, that fire in his spirit refusing to be dimmed.

Seeing the joy on his face as he maneuvered the chair for the first time, a tear welled up in my eye. Alberto’s story wasn’t just about a wheelchair; it was about a life well-lived, a testament to resilience, and a reminder that even at 100, the desire for freedom and adventure never truly fades.

You can help someone like Alberto restore their freedom and mobility today, click the button below to donate a wheelchair.

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