Week 2 – Mobility International USA Cultural Exchange Trip

It is a with a heavy heart that I have had to say goodbye to my adventures in Oregon over the past few weeks. I said If week 1 is anything to go by then week 2 should be amazing and this has been so true.

Going to visit the stunning Pacific Coast on the free day with my host family ( a beautiful day) was a trip worth making, something I couldn’t go home without doing. The views of preserved nature from high up, looking down on a picturesque postcard where land meets sea, were fascinating. It was captivating to see how the waves came through channels to hit against the rocks of Devils Churn, created over a number of years through waves crashing against the shore. Looking at this amongst the tall trees dominating the land and the blue sea looking glorious from the top of Cape Perpetua was extra special.

On Monday in Portland we traveled to an organisation called ‘Incight’ specialising in educational, employment and recreational support for disabled youngsters. Part of this consists of a presentation given to employers about a theory known as ‘Handicrap’ which is ignoring any barriers that you think may exist for disabled people in terms of accommodation for example. You can then take these ideas/theories out of your head and flush them down the loo hence ‘Handicrap‘. The whole program has been about treating what those people ever said about disabled people not being able to achieve what abled bodied people can as a load of rubbish through what we have done. I now have even more motivation to reach my future goals.

A true camping experience at the Silver Falls State Park later on in the week with spectacular waterfall views was an altogether new experience. Disabled empowerment through recreational activities can be achieved, never would I have thought camping was possible for myself. All the delegates were involved in all the traditional camping activities like erecting your own tents, building your own campfire and hiking through treacherous conditions for a wheelchair user. A big thanks has to go to my Personal Assistant Tristan Wong and his heroic efforts, involving pushing me through the forest in a shower chair!

A group mentality amongst delegates with no one standing back has been fully encouraged during the trip. That has certainly been the attitude of this bunch though, supporting and inspiring one another was a constant theme. With a group you can achieve a lot more!



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