During patrol for the Colombian military, James took a step which would alter his life forever; onto a mine so deafening he could only hear a high pitched peal. As the smoke cleared, James looked down at the splintered bone and mangled muscle of his right leg. In disbelief, James began to laugh.
Was it this incredulity that led him to learn how to walk with a prosthesis faster than any of his peers in rehabilitation? That seems paradoxical. James himself can’t really describe what made him get out of bed and start practicing walking day and night. “It was a very long process learning how to walk with a prosthesis. I don’t know what made me get up and do it. Yo tenía ganas,” he said. “I just felt like it.”
Leaving the military rehabilitation facility in Bogotá, he was very self-conscious of his new limb. He would hear people in the street say, “pobrecito” or “poor guy” and he couldn’t stand it. He’s learned to overcome that as well. On Sundays in Bogotá, the busiest street-Avenida Séptima- is shut down for pedestrians and cyclists only. These days, James dons a pair of shorts and he and his wife ride up and down Séptima assuredly. “I just don’t care anymore” James explains, referring to other’s thoughts on his prosthesis.
At 21 years old, James has shown great resilience in the two years since that life-changing encounter with the landmine. His motivation to study and move on, along with the support he receives from Fundación ArcÁngeles’ job development department, will help James go far. Hopefully James’ resilience rubbed off in the rehabilitation center or on Avenida Séptima because it’s inspiring how James has faced facts and chosen life so fast and so young.
Posted By Lindsey Crifasi
Posted Sep 14th, 2009